Dugdale brands Sturgeon a liar as polls tighten ahead of Thursday 8 vote
KEZIA DUGDALE, the Scottish Labour leader, has doubled down on the accusation made last night (Tuesday 6 June) that Nicola Sturgeon had “lied” after the first minister said that Dugdale privately told her Labour needed to embrace a second independence vote following Brexit.
In front of an STV Scotland Debate audience, the first minister attempted to corner Dugdale on her support for the EU contradicting her support for remaining in the UK and claimed that Dugdale had told her privately that “she thought Brexit changed everything and she didn’t think Labour could go on opposing a second referendum”.
The claim was received negatively by the Scottish Labour leader who responded that it was a “lie”. She continued to stress this after the debate ended.
Conflicting claims were bandied back and forth, as Dugdale said she had only “shared her sadness” at the UK-wide vote to leave the EU. She claimed she is still opposed to both an independence referendum and independence and that she would “never” change that position.
“People are coming back and it's clear the SNP are afraid, this is just a ploy to stop the leaking”
Sturgeon said: “You and I spoke the day after the EU referendum and you told me then you thought the change occasioned by Brexit meant you thought Labour should stop opposing a referendum.”
In a tweet on the social media site twitter, the Scottish Labour leader said: “Any suggestion that I ever said to Sturgeon that I'd change Labour's position on #indyref2 is a categoric lie + shows how desperate she is.”
A Scottish Labour spokesman said: “This is a nonsense and a lie from Nicola Sturgeon. It is insulting and demeaning to what is the office of first minister. It is nothing but a final act of desperation from an SNP leader who knows the public has turned against her. It shows how far she is prepared to go in the hope of electing a Tory government.
“This is a nonsense and a lie from Nicola Sturgeon. It is insulting and demeaning to what is the office of first minister.”
“Kezia Dugdale campaigned tirelessly against independence in the 2014 referendum. She has always campaigned tirelessly against a divisive second independence referendum. The Labour party will never support independence because of the turbo-charged austerity it would inflict on working people in Scotland.”
The claims may come as a serious blow to Scottish Labour, as they face a squeeze on two sides, from the supporters they have lost to the SNP in recent years and the Scottish Tories who campaign on being the only effective unionist party.
Dugdale's party has focused its campaign on promising to oppose a second independence referendum, but Sturgeon's claim in last night’s debate could encourage some unionist voters to switch to the Tories.
However, speaking to CommonSpace, a Scottish Labour spokesperson said that such stories could end up hurting the SNP as younger pro-independence voters are tempted to vote for a Corbyn UK Labour party.
“People are coming back and it's clear the SNP are afraid, this is just a ploy to stop the leaking”, he said.
Labour in Scotland has seen a boost in their numbers since suffering electoral defeat in 2015 and 2016 elections, and losing key strongholds in the 2017 local elections.
However, a survey by YouGov puts Kezia Dugdale’s party on 25 per cent of the vote, behind the Tories on 26 per cent and the SNP on 43 per cent.
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