Jeremy Corbyn embroiled in 'fake news' row over Scottish referendum comments

Posted On: 
13th March 2017

Jeremy Corbyn has become embroiled in a bizarre row with a major news agency after he appeared to accuse them of "mischievous reporting" over comments he made about a second Scottish independence referendum.

Jeremy Corbyn claims his views on a second referendum were misreported.
PA Images

The Labour leader spoke out in an interview with the Press Association - which provides a news wire service to all major newspapers and broadcasters - during a visit to Glasgow at the weekend.

Asked if a second referendum, was "inevitable" Mr Corbyn said: "If a referendum is held then it is absolutely fine, it should be held."

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His comments caused a storm of protest from many Labour MPs as they appeared to be at odds with the party's official policy of opposing a a fresh independence vote.

On Radio Four's Today programme this morning, Mr Corbyn insisted his words had been taken out of context.

He said: "There was a bit of mischievous misreporting going on there. I was asked if in Westminster we would block the holding of a referendum. I said no, if the Scottish Parliament decided they wanted to have a referendum then it would be wrong for Westminster to block it.”

"There is no ambiguity whatsoever and those that are seeking mischief better go and seek it elsewhere."

That prompted Pete Clifton, editor in chief of the Press Association, to hit back in a statement

He said: "The only mischievous thing about this episode is the suggestion that PA has done anything beyond what it always does - accurately report what politicians say to us in an entirely impartial way."

In an attempt to kill off the row, a spokesman for Mr Corbyn claimed he had been criticising other news organisations, not the Press Association.

"Jeremy was not referring to the Press Association, which provides a good service, in his Today interview," the spokesman said.

"He was talking about other outlets, who presented what he said out of context. Labour and Jeremy's position is clear; we oppose a second referendum, and will do so in the proper place, the Scottish Parliament. The ‘absolutely fine’ comment referred to a referendum agreed by the Scottish Parliament. Jeremy and Labour do not want a second referendum but believe it would be wrong for Westminster to block it."