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Jeremy Corbyn will not allow indyref2 in ‘formative years’ of Labour government

He and Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard are agreed on the timing of a possible second independence vote.

Jeremy Corbyn (left) and Richard Leonard have agreed there will be no second Scottish independence referendum in the formative years of a Labour goverment. (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Jeremy Corbyn (left) and Richard Leonard have agreed there will be no second Scottish independence referendum in the formative years of a Labour goverment. (Andrew Milligan/PA)

By Katrine Bussey, PA Scotland Political Editor

A second Scottish independence referendum would not take place in the “formative years” of a Labour government, Jeremy Corbyn has said.

But he confirmed that his party would not block such a vote.

The Labour leader said if he was voted into Downing Street he would be focused on the “central priorities” of dealing with Brexit, ending austerity and acting to tackle the climate emergency.

He stated: “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.”

Scottish Labour had been opposed to another ballot on independence being held, after voters backed staying in the UK by 55% to 45% in 2014.

Jeremy and I have agreed that, during the formative years of an incoming Labour government, we would not sanction a Section 30 order to allow a further referendum on Scottish independence to take place Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard

However, UK shadow chancellor John McDonnell recently said the party would not stand in the way of a second referendum.

Richard Leonard, the party’s Scottish leader, said he was in agreement with Mr Corbyn on the timing of a possible second ballot.

He confirmed: “Jeremy and I have agreed that, during the formative years of an incoming Labour government, we would not sanction a Section 30 order to allow a further referendum on Scottish independence to take place.”

Mr Leonard added: “It would also only be acceptable to a Labour government to allow a second referendum to proceed if it could be demonstrated that there was a fresh mandate for such a vote to be held. This would require a democratic mandate from the people of Scotland, which clearly signals the majority of people are in favour of a new vote.

“I do not believe that the conditions exist for such a move today, nor will they for the foreseeable future.”

Details of the agreement between the two leaders on the timing of a possible Scottish referendum emerged ahead of Mr Corbyn making a campaign trip north of the border.

Scottish independence is not the answer to Johnson. Independence will only further prolong and intensify austerity and create more instability and chaos Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

And he argued that, while a no-deal Brexit would be a “disaster” for Scotland and the rest of the UK, ending the union with England would worsen austerity for Scots and “create more instability and chaos”.

Mr Corbyn said: “Boris Johnson’s pursuit of a no-deal Brexit will be a disaster for the whole country. He is putting at risk Scottish jobs in manufacturing, food processing and service industries. His intention to suspend Parliament shows he is also a threat to our democracy.

“The best way to defeat Johnson is sticking together, electing a Labour Government and allowing it to get on with sorting the Tory Brexit nightmare and introducing policies that will see transformative investment in Scotland’s people, communities and public services.”

The UK Labour leader continued: “Scottish independence is not the answer to Johnson. Independence will only further prolong and intensify austerity and create more instability and chaos.

“What Scotland needs is a Labour Government that prioritises investing in Scotland, focuses on dealing with Brexit, ending austerity and tackling the climate emergency.”

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