Jeremy Corbyn says Westminster should not block second Scottish independence vote

Posted On: 
15th August 2019

Jeremy Corbyn has said Westminster should not block a second independence referendum in Scotland as he waded into a party row over the move.

Jeremy Corbyn with Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard

The Labour leader backed comments made by Chancellor John McDonnell, who caused anger in the Scottish party when he said a Labour Government would not stand in the way of a second vote.

Speaking to the BBC on Thursday, Mr Corbyn said he was “not in favour” of Scottish independence.

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John McDonnell: Labour would not block another Scottish independence referendum

But he made clear he did not believe the UK Parliament should block a bid for a re-run of the 2014 vote.

He said: "It's not up to Parliament to block it, but it's up to Parliament to make a point about whether it's a good idea or not.

"I do not think it's a good idea"

He added: "I would advise that we don't have another referendum.

"I'm not in support of Scottish independence. What I am in support of is justice for Scotland and that means investment in Scotland by a Labour government for the whole of the UK."

In order to trigger a second ballot in Scotland, Holyrood would needs powers granted by the UK Parliament.

Speaking at Edinburgh Fringe festival earlier this month, Mr McDonnell insisted that the “English Parliament” would get in the way of a second poll if Holyrood demanded one.

He said: “We would not block something like that. We would let the Scottish people decide. That's democracy. There are other views within the party but that's our view."

But the pair’s position appeared to put them at odds with Scottish Labour.

The party's Scottish leader Richard Leonard said he had spoken to the Shadow Chancellor to put across the "the very clear view that the people of Scotland do not want a second independence referendum and also to remind him that the last independence referendum was supposed to be once in a generation".

Mr Leonard added: "I was elected 18 months ago directly by the members of the Scottsh Labour Party, and one of the parts of the platform I stood on was clear opposition to a second independence referendum.

"So I think it's pretty clear where I stand, it's pretty clear where the membership of the Scottish Labour Party stand and that's the view that we'll be communicating.

"We will be doing everything we can do to make sure it is in the Labour manifesto for the general election, whenever it comes."

That stance was backed by Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson earlier this week, as he released a video saying another referendum "is not the answer”.

Mr Watson warned "We can see the mess caused by the prospect of the UK leaving the four decade-long union with Europe - imagine how much more disruptive it would be to break our three centuries-long Union of Scotland within the UK."