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Heckling former SNP activist ejected from Corbyn speech

The Labour leader was interrupted by a man at Queens Hotel in Dundee.

Jeremy Corbyn was addressing supporters in Dundee (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Jeremy Corbyn was addressing supporters in Dundee (Andrew Milligan/PA)

By Sam Blewett, PA Political Correspondent

The heckler who targeted Jeremy Corbyn over his stance on Scottish independence has said he left the SNP because he did not think the party was campaigning “wholeheartedly” for the issue.

The Labour leader was interrupted by campaigner Bob Costello calling for him to respect the “will of the Scottish people” as he addressed supporters in Dundee on the second day of his Scottish tour.

Mr Corbyn had earlier sparked confusion over his policy on allowing another public vote when he initially said it would not happen in Labour’s first term, before backtracking to say it would not take place in the “early years”.

Mr Costello, the director of Sidlaw Executive Travel, was apprehended during an ugly exchange with Mr Corbyn during his speech at Queens Hotel on Thursday.

Contacted later by the PA news agency, Mr Costello said he was frustrated by the Labour leader’s unclear stance, adding: “Yesterday he changed his mind about three times.”

But, for Mr Costello, Nicola Sturgeon’s party has also not been strong enough.

“I left the SNP in 2016 because I didn’t believe they were wholeheartedly for independence,” he said.

I’m interested to know what you’re going to do about the will of the Scottish people Bob Costello

Mr Corbyn in a later interview said Mr Costello, who “obviously is passionate”, should not “interrupt people when they are speaking”.

The Labour leader said he would “certainly not” hold a referendum “in the first two years of the government”, when asked if the 2021 Holyrood election result could play a part in whether to hold a referendum.

Mr Costello, 72, had stood up during Mr Corbyn’s speech to shout: “I’m interested to know what you’re going to do about the will of the Scottish people with regards to Article 30.”

That section of the Scotland Act 1998 could pave the way for a second independence referendum.

“Take your hands off me,” Mr Costello shouted as he was grabbed by staff. “Is this your democracy, is it?”

The Labour leader tried to hush him, saying: “It’s perfectly democratic when we listen to each other so I’ll listen to you in a moment.

“Democracy is not when you interrupt somebody when they are speaking.”

Mr Costello was ejected to cheers and claps from the audience.

PA

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