Nicola Sturgeon dismisses latest comments from Jeremy Corbyn as “a way of sparing Richard Leonard’s blushes”
- Speaking in Scotland, Jeremy Corbyn said that, if elected, a new Labour government would not agree to a further independence referendum in its “formative years”, as it will be focused on “central priorities”
- Nicola Sturgeon responded that “we all know the dam has burst”, but does not rule out the scenario described by Corbyn
- SNP MP Tommy Sheppard: “It is unacceptable to try to block Scotland’s democratic right to choose.”
THE SNP has hit back at UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s suggestion that a second referendum on Scottish independence could not take place until after the “formative years” of Labour winning power.
Speaking during a visit to Scotland, Corbyn commented that the party would not block a further plebiscite in the future if it received a “fresh mandate”, while arguing that independence was “not the answer” to Boris Johnson.
His comments follow furious dissent within both Scottish and UK Labour over the issue a second referendum, following remarks made earlier this month by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, who suggested Labour would not block such a poll. Speaking at an event at the Edinburgh Festival, McDonnell said that the decision over a second referendum would be for “the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish people to decide”.
"In the formative years of a Labour government we wouldn't agree to another independence referendum because we will be fully focused on these central priorities.” UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
McDonnell added: "We would not block something like that. We would let the Scottish people decide. That's democracy.”
Speaking at Woodmill High School in Dunfermline, Corbyn said: "In the formative years of a Labour government we wouldn't agree to another independence referendum because we will be fully focused on these central priorities.
"However, if at some future point there was a legitimate and fresh mandate, we wouldn't block it."
Reiterating his own view on Scotland constitutional future, Corbyn added: "Scottish independence is not the answer to Johnson. Independence will only further prolong and intensify austerity and create more instability and chaos."
Of course Corbyn had to find a way of sparing Richard Leonard’s blushes. But we all know the dam on this has burst. Labour - at UK if not yet at Scottish level - knows that it is unacceptable for Westminster to block Scotland’s right to choose. https://t.co/vOz9JjPGLt
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) August 29, 2019
In response to Corbyn’s comments, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote on Twitter: “Of course Corbyn had to find a way of sparing Richard Leonard’s blushes. But we all know the dam on this has burst. Labour - at UK if not yet at Scottish level - knows that it is unacceptable for Westminster to block Scotland’s right to choose.”
This view was echoed by SNP MP Tommy Sheppard, who commented: “It is unacceptable to try to block Scotland’s democratic right to choose – regardless of which party is in office at Westminster.
“And for Richard Leonard, as leader of the third placed party at Holyrood to try and lay down the law on this issue is laughable - this latest move is nothing more than an attempt to spare his blushes.
“His UK bosses already know it is untenable to try and block a referendum, given that the Scottish Parliament already has a cast-iron mandate to hold an independence referendum.
“It is up to the people and Parliament of Scotland to decide whether there should be another independence referendum – not a detached and broken Westminster system – and in a democracy, people are always allowed another say.
Sheppard continued: “Labour face the inescapable choice of either getting on the right side of democracy or facing electoral disaster, given that polls show that 4 in 10 Labour voters support independence.
“Since the EU referendum, Scotland’s voice and interests have been shunned to the side-lines and its democratic vote ignored.
“It is clearer than ever that Scotland cannot be properly served by a shambolic, crumbling Westminster system, and that our future lies as an independent European country.”
Picture courtesy of Chris Beckett