The National:

Don't miss out on our latest deals. Click RIGHT HERE for more information taking out a ONE YEAR subscription from just £24!

Good evening, my name is James and welcome to the new weekly newsletter focusing on the highest Branch Office in the land.

Today's newsletter is below for a wee read as I bring you the week's latest news and gaffes from Scottish Labour, as they attempt to challenge the SNP/Green Government and avoid being disciplined by head honcho Keir Starmer.

If you have anything you'd like to see from the newsletter, just get in touch at Hope you enjoy.

The battle is on

Two recent polls have suggested that Scottish Labour are catching up with the SNP going into next year’s General Election.

The first, from YouGov, suggested the SNP could lose 23 seats to Labour, but the party would still return the most MPs. It would be their worst result since 2010. The poll suggested Labour would jump from having only one Scottish MP, to 24.

A second poll released on Wednesday put support for independence at 53%, but also showed an increase in support for Labour with the SNP still in the lead.

Ipsos said that support for the SNP had dropped by 4 points to 41%, with Labour in second place at 29% (+10).

Labour Branch Office leader Anas Sarwar hailed the polls, claiming “it is clear that across Scotland people are sick of the Tory and SNP status quo”.

First Minister Humza Yousaf fired back in First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, saying: “I saw Anas Sarwar celebrating polls that once again put the Labour Party in second place.

The National: Humza Yousaf branded Labour a 'replica' of the Tories after a speech by Sir Keir Starmer

“Celebrating being a loser, that sums up Anas Sarwar and the Scottish Labour Party.”

Nevertheless, the SNP are preparing for battle – with bullish MPs insistent they can see Labour off.

Most of the party’s MPs attended an “away day” event in the Broadway House conference centre on Monday, a short walk from the Westminster parliament – and are understood to be getting personalised battle plans to fight the upcoming election.

One MP said it was the first official strategy meeting Stephen Flynn had held since taking over as leader of the Westminster group in December, other than another held shortly after the leadership contest as a way of reconvening the group after he replaced Ian Blackford.

It was described as a chance to “get off the treadmill” and was said to focus more on the party’s general strategy, away from the day-to-day pressures of responding to the Westminster political agenda.

The party are said to be devising localised election campaign plans – reasoning that MPs representing areas where the main challenge is from the Conservatives will need to fight different campaigns than those whose main challenge comes from Labour

The Branch Office boss

Sarwar made our list of Holyrood nepo babies this week.

The Scottish Labour leader first won a seat at Westminster after his father vacated it.

Mohammad Sarwar – who would go on to serve two terms as the Governor of Punjab – was the MP for Glasgow Govan from 1997, winning the seat again in 2001. In 2005 he won the Glasgow Central seat, which was then won by his son in 2010.

The National: Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar's media chief tweeted about 'cremating' the SNP

But the younger Sarwar failed to copy his father’s winning ways, and lost his seat in the 2015 election to the SNP’s Alison Thewliss. However, he won a safe Glasgow list seat and became an MSP the following year.

Now, don’t get me wrong – family connections are everywhere in Scottish politics, from Oliver Mundell to the Ewing siblings.

But regardless of their own merits, it is hard to shake off the impression that they may have been helped into their positions, their well-connected relatives calling in a favour here or a nudge there.

Another U-turn? Surely not...

Head honcho Keir Starmer is facing calls not to abandon the Labour Party’s previous promise to compensate women who missed out on pension payments.

Former shadow minister Rebecca Long-Bailey publicly challenged the Labour Leader to hand the Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) cohort the multi-million-pound settlement previously promised by Jeremy Corbyn.

The National: Labour leader Keir Starmer. Pic: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Waspi refers to women born in the 1950s who had their payments reduced after the state pension age was raised shortly before they were due to retire. The alteration was imposed without giving the workers affected time to plan for the income cut, leaving many short.

In 2019, former Labour leader Corbyn said Labour would offer compensation to those affected, but Starmer has so far declined to make any policy commitment.

If current form is anything to go by, another U-turn appears likely.