Scottish Labour opposes triggering of Article 50 despite UK Labour supporting it

Posted On: 
6th February 2017

Scottish Labour today said it opposes the triggering of Article 50 - despite Jeremy Corbyn's insistence that the UK party will not oppose it.

Kezia Dugdale and Jeremy Corbyn are at odds over Article 50.
Credit: 
PA Images

In a further sign of Labour's confused response to the Brexit vote, Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said she wanted to "send a clear message that we do not support a hard Brexit".

Her hardline stance - announced as the Scottish Parliament prepares to debate the issue - puts her once again at odds with Mr Corbyn.

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The Labour leader last week suffered a major rebellion after ordering his MPs to vote in favour of the Government bill which would trigger the Article 50 process.

Labour MPs are again expected to be told to back the Government when they vote on the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill again on Wednesday night.

But writing in LabourList, Ms Dugdale pointed out that while 52% of UK voters backed Leave, 62% of Scots supported Remain.

She said: "The UK is leaving the EU – that is not in doubt. What is in doubt is the terms on which we are leaving.

 "Scottish Labour respects the result of the UK-wide referendum on the EU, but we also know the people of Scotland did not vote for Theresa May’s hard Brexit and that no one voted to become poorer.

"While the Bill to leave the EU is still progressing through the House of Commons, Labour in Holyrood will send a clear message that we do not support a hard Brexit.

"The UK is leaving the European Union, but there is no reason why Scottish Labour and the Scottish Parliament should not give a voice to the wishes of the vast majority of Scottish people."

A UK Labour spokesman said: "This is a matter for the Scottish Labour party. The UK Labour party has been clear that it will not frustrate Article 50.

"Labour's amendments put jobs, living standards and the economy front and centre and are the real agenda now."

Scottish Conservative chief whip John Lamont said: "The referendum was held, Parliament has had its say, and we should now respect them both by moving to trigger Article 50.

"The SNP is hoping to use this debate to sow division and grievance in order to further its unwanted plan for a second independence referendum.

"It is disappointing that Scottish Labour has fallen into the same old trap and failed to stand up to the same old Nationalist stunts. The Scottish Conservatives will have no truck with them."