(Bloomberg) -- Keir Starmer said his Labour Party sees an opportunity to make political gains in Scotland, following what he called the Scottish National Party’s “profound” implosion triggered by a police probe into its finances.

“It obviously gives us an opportunity to make an argument about Scotland, about the future of Scotland, that means we are more likely to be heard,” Starmer said in an interview with Bloomberg’s Francine Lacqua on stage at London Tech Week. “The implosion of the SNP has been very profound.”

The question of whether Labour can pick up disaffected SNP voters in Scotland is emerging as one of the key questions ahead of a UK general election expected next year. Every seat Labour picks up in Scotland shifts the calculus as it seeks to win power from Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives Party in Westminster. 

Historically, Labour has been strong in Scotland, taking 41 of its 59 parliamentary seats as recently as 2010. But the SNP’s rise under Nicola Sturgeon — the party took 56 seats in 2015 and still held 48 in 2019 — has been a major stumbling bloc to Labour ambitions.

Read More: UK Political Drama Intensifies as Sturgeon Arrested in SNP Probe

However, Sturgeon’s arrest on Sunday as part of the police investigation into the SNP’s finances has added to the sense of turmoil that current leader Humza Yousaf is struggling to contain. Sturgeon was released without charge.

The situation allows a “proper examination of the SNP,” Starmer said. “Until this point the SNP was quite able to ensure that the only discussion in Scotland was about independence, about the referendum and constitutional issues and not about the things that in many respects matter so much more.”

According to polling by the Best for Britain think tank, support for the SNP has fallen to 30% from 38% since late 2022, while Labour’s has remained at 28%.

Read More: UK’s Labour Party Seen Gaining From SNP Troubles in Scotland

In a punchy appearance on Tuesday, Starmer also attacked Sunak’s ruling Conservative Party and the the ugly spat between Boris Johnson and Sunak. He said the three by-elections triggered by the resignations from Parliament of Johnson and two of his allies is part of a pattern of political chaos that is costing the UK in terms of foreign investment.

“The turmoil we’ve had, the chaos in government, does affect how other countries look at us,” he said.

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