Theresa May: Jeremy Corbyn too weak to stand up for the Union even if he wanted to
Jeremy Corbyn is “too weak" to stand up for the Union even if he wanted to, Theresa May has claimed.
In a direct attack on the Labour leader, the Prime Minister attempted to pitch the Conservatives as the only major party able to defend the United Kingdom.
Mr Corbyn has previously come under fire for suggesting that it would be “absolutely fine” for the Nationalists to call another referendum.
However, earlier this week, Mr Corbyn attacked the Scottish National Party over its plans for an “unwanted and unnecessary” to hold a second independence referendum if the Scottish Parliament supports one.
Speaking in Edinburgh, Mrs May urged Labour voters in Scotland to back her party in order to peg back the SNP.
A Scottish Nationalist surge saw the party win 56 out of 59 seats at the last election, with each of the three main pro-UK parties left with just one seat.
Polling suggests that number is likely to be reduced however, with support for the Scottish Tories on the rise.
Mrs May said: “Only the Conservative and Unionist Party has the strength and credibility to stand up to the Nationalists and defend our United Kingdom.
“Jeremy Corbyn is too weak to stand up for our Union, even if he wanted to.
“According to him, a second independence referendum would be ‘absolutely fine.’
She added: “A vote for any other party is a vote to weaken our Union, to weaken our negotiating hand in Europe and to put our future prosperity and security at risk.”
The Conservative manifesto said there would only be a second independence referendum if there is "public consent".
But the manifesto failed to explain what the term means. When asked to clarify, Mrs May implied she would only give Holyrood the legal power to hold another referendum if there was sustained support for independence.
"Well I think I’m right in saying one party that has spoken about what they think public consent should be is the Scottish Nationalist Party (sic) and actually haven’t reached what they’ve suggested," she said.
“This is about whether or not we should be thinking at this moment of time about a second independence referendum, and the Scottish nationalists have this tunnel vision obsession with independence, to the extent that they’ve allowed things like education here in Scotland to deteriorate.
“We should be focusing on who is going to be leading the United Kingdom for the next five years.”
Elsewhere in the manifesto launch, Mrs May once again ruled out Nicola Sturgeon at the Brexit negotiations table, despite the SNP leader saying earlier this week that she should be there if the Nationalists win the most seats in Scotland.
“They are going to take place between the United Kingdom and the 27 other countries within the European Union," Mrs May said.
“I and David Davis and others will be in there representing the whole United Kingdom.”
She added: "We will continue to talk to and work with the Scottish Government as we do with the other devolved administrations but sitting around that negotiating table, the choice for people on 8 June is very clear – it’s either me or Jeremy Corbyn."