Labour vows to put opposition to second Scottish independence vote in its next manifesto

Posted On: 
23rd September 2018

Labour has ruled out supporting a second independence referendum in Scotland - just days after Jeremy Corbyn suggested he might allow one.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard will make the pledge at Labour's conference.
Credit: 
PA

Scottish voters rejected independence by 55% to 45% in 2014, but the SNP has argued that the UK's impending exit from the EU strengthens the case for a fresh public vote.

However, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard will on Sunday tell activists at the party's conference that Labour will not be backing those calls.

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Mr Leonard will say: "We don’t need another independence referendum to change Scotland, as far as I am concerned – we’ve just had one.

"The majority of people do not want one, and as we meet here this week with the prospect of a general election, I can make clear today that the next Labour manifesto will oppose another independence referendum."

He will add: "We don’t need a referendum, we need the election of a Scottish Labour government which is prepared to use its powers, and a confident Labour Party reawakening hope out of despair across these shared islands."

The move was swiftly mocked by Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, who claimed it showed Labour's "determination to remain alienated from swathes of its previous support".

 

 

The party faced a near-wipeout by the SNP at the 2015 Westminster election, and in 2017 Labour was overtaken by the Conservatives to become the third-largest party in its former stronghold.

Mr Leonard's announcement comes just days after Jeremy Corbyn said he was "not ruling out" giving consent for another referendum if he becomes prime minister.

Asked by BBC Scotland how he would respond to a request from Ms Sturgeon, the UK Labour leader said: "We would obviously decide at the time."

But he added: "We don’t want another referendum, we don’t think another referendum is a good idea, and we’ll be very clear on why we don’t think it’s a good idea."