Jeremy Corbyn U-turns on Scottish independence as he rules out fresh referendum for five years
Jeremy Corbyn has U-turned on Scottish independence as he vowed to block any new poll during his the first five-year term of a potential Labour government.
The announcement is a major shift after the opposition leader previously suggested he could grant one in 2021 if he gets into Number 10 at next month's election.
Senior Labour figures, including shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald, had recently said the party would not "stand in the way" of another referendum if Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon requested one.
And a Labour spokesperson has suggested while the party wouldn't grant a request in the "formative years" of a new government, they added: “In the longer run if there was a democratic and properly formulated request on the basis of a majority of the Scottish Parliament or the Scottish Government it would be wrong to block it."
But speaking during a campaign visit to Scotland on Wednesday, Mr Corbyn said his party would reject any fresh independence push to focus instead on boosting investment across the country.
"No referendum in the first term for a Labour government because I think we need to concentrate completely in investment across Scotland," he explained.
Ms Sturgeon has already vowed to seek a section 30 order - which would transfer power to Holyrood allowing a new independence poll to be set - from the new Prime Minister, with a view to holding the contest some time in 2020.
But pressed on how he would respond to the move, Mr Corbyn said: "I'll say to her we have been elected to form a government, we are committed to investing over £70billion of capital investment in Scotland.
"We are committed to ending Universal Credit. We are committed to supporting the needs of housing all across Scotland.
"We are going to do that first, that's our priority, not another referendum on independence."
The U-turn comes after a major YouGov poll found plummeting Labour support in Scotland had pushed the party into fourth place.
Earlier this week Boris Johnson accused Mr Corbyn of doing a "shady deal" with Ms Sturgeon for suggesting he could grant the second referndum.
Speaking during a campaign visit to Elgin the PM, who has ruled out any future referendum on Scottish independence, said: "It's perfectly obvious that Jeremy Corbyn is going to reply on the SNP to get him into power and to do that he's done a shady deal to have a second referendum."
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“The subject of the Union is a key one at this election and it could provide a golden chance for the SNP to get another Indepdence Referendum.
"Star bet 5/4 (44.44%) that the next Independence Referendum takes place in 2022 or later, compared to 7/4 (36.36%) that they get one in 2020. In the event of that happening, we make it slightly more likely that Scotland votes to leave the UK, with Star offering 7/2 (22.22%) that there’s an Independence Referendum next year and that Scotland votes to leave the UK, and 4/1 (20%) that in an independence referendum in 2020, Scotland votes No once again.
"In December, the SNP’s prospects look good for taking a number of seats and Star go 5/6 (54.65%) that they win 46 or more Seats, returning to something like the Parliamentary dominance they had before 2017.”
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