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Bitter debate in Glasgow

Labour leader jeered as contenders clash in Glasgow

Labour leader debateScottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale’s name was jeered by an audience attending a hustings debate between the party leadership contenders Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith in Glasgow.

It came during a bitter clash over Brexit and the party’s poor performance in Scotland at the General Election.

Mr Smith blamed Mr Corbyn for the party falling to third place behind the Conservatives in Scotland. He said it should be a “wake-up call”.

He told Mr Corbyn: “The reality is in the last year when you’ve been leader of the Labour party across the UK, we’ve gone from second to third behind the Tories. We’ve gone backwards in Scotland.

“People did feel that the last Labour government wasn’t radical enough. Scotland is a radical country and a socialist country and people want to see a Socialist government at Westminster. ”

But there was jeering from the audience when he praised the “brilliant job” Ms Dugdale had done in Scotland.

“I’m really gutted that there’s a Labour audience laughing and jeering at the leader of Scottish Labour,” he said.

Mr Smith questioned Mr Corbyn’s commitment to the Remain campaign in the EU referendum.

“Jeremy has never wanted us to stay in the European Union – his record is clear, he’s always been opposed to it,” said Mr Smith.

“The reason I think Jeremy can be so complacent and passive about this is that he’s happy with the result.”

Mr Smith questioned whether the leader voted to Remain in June’s EU referendum.

“I’d like to hear you say it,” said Mr Smith.

Mr Corbyn replied by saying: “I thought we had grown up and we weren’t any longer going to use those kind of remarks.You know very well that I voted to Remain. I am quite disappointed that you should even raise this question.”

Mr Corbyn added that the referendum had taken place and delivered a result which was not the one he wanted, but had to be respected.

He said he would fight to protect workers’ rights and consumer rights and to ensure “there is an effective economic relationship with Europe when the Brexit negotiations are completed”.

Mr Corbyn attacked the SNP and its record in government. He said: “The SNP are very good at adopting the clothes of Labour tradition in Scotland. The reality is something very, very different from what they actually do in their economic strategy.”

Both men ruled out any deal with the SNP at Westminster.

 

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