Jeremy Corbyn backtracks on 'no independence referendum in Labour's first term'

UK Labour leader says priority in Scotland is 'massive investment'

Thursday, 14th November 2019, 6:00 am
Jeremy Corbyn with Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard in Glasgow

JEREMY Corbyn caused confusion over Labour’s stance on a second independence referendum when he ruled out a fresh vote in the next five years.

On a visit to Glasgow, the UK Labour leader told reporters there would be “no referendum in the first term of a Labour government” because he wanted to focus on investment in Scotland.

But later he backtracked and said a referendum would not be held in the “early years” of a Labour administration.

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Nicola Sturgeon with Edinburgh West SNP candidate Sarah Masson in Muirhouse

The SNP has made clear it is willing to work with Labour after the election to keep the Tories out of office, but warned it would be conditional on the go-ahead for a referendum.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said: “Jeremy Corbyn’s attempt to say No to the right of people in Scotland to choose their own future crumbled within a morning - he knows it is not a democratically acceptable or sustainable position.”

The Conservatives said Mr Corbyn was in “complete disarray” and could not be trusted to back Scotland’s place in the UK.

Mr Corbyn promised “massive investment” in Scotland. He said: “We will build the homes people need and end homelessness, tackle the climate emergency, provide a social care system that gives dignity to our older people and the carers who look after them, end child poverty and end fuel poverty.”

Ahead of his arrival, former Labour MP Tom Harris urged voters to back the Conservatives in the general election to keep “extremist” Jeremy Corbyn out of power.

And as he entered a community centre, he was heckled by Church of Scotland minister Rev Richard Cameron who accused him of being a “terrorist sympathiser”.

Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon was on the campaign trail in Edinburgh West, joining SNP candidate Sarah Masson on a visit to The Shed project at North Edinburgh Arts in Muirhouse and helped sand wood for a shelf.

Ms Sturgeon said a large team of SNP MPs would push for tougher action on the climate emergency.

She said: “Scotland is already a world leader on tackling the climate crisis and delivering green energy. By contrast, Westminster has wasted years obsessing over nuclear power and a complete lack of vision and ambition over the energy technologies of the future.”

Ms Sturgeon also announced the SNP is taking legal action against ITV over the channel’s plan to exclude all other leaders from a televised debate between Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson on November 19.

She said: “This election may be the most important of our lifetimes. It is quite simply unacceptable for the SNP and other parties to be cut out of proposed leaders’ debates by broadcasters.

“This is fundamentally unfair and it fails to recognise that the UK is no longer a two party state.”