A SCOTTISH caller told Keir Starmer that “Labour is becoming more blue than red” as he challenged the prospective prime minister over his refusal to scrap the Tories’ two-child benefits cap and the associated rape clause.

It comes after Starmer opened up a rift with both Scottish and Welsh Labour by insisting that ditching the limit – which prevents parents claiming certain benefits for any more than two children – was not his party’s policy.

The UK Labour leader was appearing on BBC Radio 5 Live for a phone-in when John, from Largs, challenged him over the comments.

Responding, Starmer claimed he would not make “uncosted spending commitments” as Liz Truss’s disastrous mini-budget had shown how that would turn out.

Instead, the Labour leader insisted that growing the economy was the “most important” issue.

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John had told BBC Radio 5 Live: "Does Keir Starmer think that his two-child benefit cap policy is a nail in the coffin for not only Labour in Scotland but the Union?”

Asked to expand, he went on: "I think Labour in Scotland aren't entirely being honest with people. It was just a couple of weeks ago we were hearing that Anas Sarwar was saying he would have some kind of significant influence over Labour in the UK but I don't entirely believe that.

"I think it should be scrapped completely, I really do. I think it's an awful policy that's going to set a lot of people into poverty up here. Early intervention is absolutely crucial to a good education and a more stable life for them.

“How can we starve children growing up, knowing it might affect their life later?"

Responding, Starmer said: "John, we can't do that because I can't make uncosted spending commitments.

“That doesn’t mean I’m indifferent, John, to the impact that these measures in welfare have and we will have, of course we’ll have, a child poverty strategy in government, a Labour government, as we did last time we were in power and of course we will drive down levels of child poverty as we did in the 13 years we were last in power.

“But we cannot make unfunded spending commitments. We know why we can’t, Liz Truss did that last year. Unfunded commitments, in her case to tax cuts, it crashed the economy and people are still paying the price.”

Asked to respond, John accused Starmer’s Labour Party of “becoming more blue than red these days”.

The National: Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said lessons would need to be learned from the Uxbridge by-election defeat (Jacob King/PA)

He said: “I just think that Tory policies and Labour don’t really seem to mix well in Scotland.

"I think people need to come up and actually speak to people in communities and actually have a look. Everyone is absolutely struggling.

“Scrapping that two-child benefit payment is one of the things we were told was going to happen with Labour, so I don't understand why all of a sudden the Tory policy has come in and now you want to U-turn on that and actually keep it. I think Labour is becoming more blue than red these days."

Starmer was then asked what his child poverty strategy would be, but he did not answer. Instead, he said the focus must be on growing the economy.

The Labour boss said: “Obviously, we’ll set [a child poverty strategy] out in government. But the most important thing is to grow the economy.”

Accepting that growing the economy could take a “while”, Starmer pressed on: “We’ve had no significant growth in the economy for 13 years. That is the single cause of the problems that we’ve had, exacerbated by the mini-budget of last year.

“If you don’t grow your economy then you don’t have the yield for your public services.”

Responding to Starmer’s comments, the SNP's social justice spokesperson at Westminster, David Linden, said Labour was focused on “continuing the toxic legacy of the Tories”.

The Glasgow East MP said: "Sir Keir Starmer's decision to double-down on his cruel two-child cap policy has left Scottish voters rightly wondering: what is the point of the Labour Party?

READ MORE: SNP challenge Keir Starmer amid Labour 'meltdown' over two-child limit U-turn

"As the Scottish caller rightly said, the Labour Party is becoming more blue than red these days – with their policy condemning thousands of children in Scotland to poverty.

"Despite the two-child cap predominantly affecting working families, Sir Keir Starmer seems to have completely forgotten that social solidarity and economic dynamism go hand-in-hand. Any economic plan that involves keeping children in poverty is not worth the paper it's written on.

"Independent analysis shows the two child cap has pushed around 20,000 Scottish into poverty this year alone – and voters in Scotland know the damage it is causing.”

The Welsh Government, which is Labour run, has spoken out against the two-child benefit cap.

Scottish Labour have tried to play both sides, saying both that the policy should be scrapped and that Starmer is right not to commit to scrapping it.