Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer has said he would not enter negotiations with the Scottish Government on an independence referendum if the SNP wins a majority of Scottish seats at the General Election.

First Minister and SNP leader John Swinney laid out his party’s manifesto this week, saying a majority would increase pressure on the incoming government to acquiesce to his demands for another vote.

But speaking to journalists on Friday during a visit to Scotland, Sir Keir rubbished the idea.

Sir Keir Starmer and Anas Sarwar touring a window factory in Whitburn, West Lothian
The Labour leader visited Scotland on Friday (Jane Barlow/PA)

“No,” he said in response to a question from Bauer Media.

Sir Keir later told reporters the SNP’s ambition was to be the opposition, while his was to form the government.

“The ambition between the SNP and Labour is stark,” he said.

“We say elect Labour MPs in Scotland so they can sit at the heart of an incoming Labour government, bringing about the change that I think so many people in Scotland want.

“What the SNP says is send an MP to send a message, to sit literally on the opposition benches and shout across the aisle.”

The declaration is likely to further sour relations between Sir Keir and the Scottish Government, with ministers and other SNP politicians having been agitating for another referendum since the UK decided to leave the European Union.

But SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn said it was “telling” that Sir Keir has “already adopted the same old Westminster arrogance when it comes to respecting Scottish democracy”.

“The right to self-determination doesn’t end because Sir Keir Starmer says so – the people of Scotland have the democratic right to choose our own future,” he added.

“It’s not asking a lot to expect anyone who calls themselves a democrat to respect that right too.

“Clearly Anas Sarwar’s recent statement that ‘it is for the Scottish people to decide’ amounts to empty words, and it proves how little influence he really has over his London boss, and just how little Starmer thinks of Scottish voters.

“Scotland deserves better than another Westminster government who’ll deny our right to choose our own future while at the very same time imposing austerity, Brexit and a cost-of-living crisis.”

In another blow to the relationship between the two parties, the Labour leader also ruled out lifting the block on the Scottish Government’s controversial gender reforms.

Under the leadership of Nicola Sturgeon, the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill was passed in Holyrood, but a Section 35 order was later issued by Scottish Secretary Alister Jack to stop the legislation receiving royal assent.

The legislation would have removed the requirement for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria for a person to apply for a gender recognition certificate, as well as lowering the minimum age and shortening the period the applicant would have to live in their preferred gender.

“No, there would be no change of position on that,” Sir Keir said.

“I think there’s a lot to learn about gender self-ID from the way in which it’s been dealt with here in Scotland, which is why we’ve got a different proposition in our manifesto.”

The Bill remains on the statute book and could be allowed to become law should the UK Government allow it.