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Labour leader rules out SNP alliance

Corbyn leaves door open to indyref talks

Corbyn in Glasgow
Jeremy Corbyn: call for equality during Glasgow rally

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn today appeared to keep the door open for a second independence referendum by saying he would open talks with the Scottish parliament.

Mr Corbyn said he would  block such a vote until after the Brexit negotiations are complete, but by indicating a willingness to consider a referendum he was exposed to criticism from other unionist parties.

Asked during a visit to Glasgow about the recent vote in the Scottish Parliament for a second referendum, Mr Corbyn said: “I’ll obviously open discussions with the Government in Scotland and listen very carefully to what the Scottish Parliament says.

“I would ask them to think very carefully about it and suggest it would be much better to have this question dealt with at the conclusion of what are very serious and very important Brexit negotiations.”

Mr Corbyn said, however, that the appetite for a second referendum is “declining very fast”.

He earlier ruled out a “progressive alliance” with the SNP after Nicola Sturgeon proposed the idea in the event of a hung parliament.

Mr Corbyn said: “There will be no deals. There will be no alliance. We’re fighting this election to win“.

“Only Labour or the Tories can win this election and voting Labour is the only way to remove Theresa May from office and build a Scotland for the many not the few.”

Mr Corbyn made the same point during his visit to Glasgow when he responded to an interview in which Ms Sturgeon said her party would try to form an alliance with Labour to pursue “progressive policies”.

But she also believed that in “reality” there would be a Conservative majority government.

Ms Sturgeon said the Labour leader was “not credible as an alternative prime minister”.

She said she did not agree with Mr Corbyn’s plans to raise corporation tax – a key source of funding for Labour’s manifesto pledges.

Ruth Davidson
Ruth Davidson: (photo by Terry Murden)

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: “Nicola Sturgeon is desperate for a second referendum and will do anything to get it – even putting Jeremy Corbyn into Number 10.

“The Labour leader has already said he’s ‘absolutely fine’ with another referendum – so it looks like a sweetheart deal is in the offing.”

On Sunday Mr Corbyn urged voters to choose Labour to govern “for the many not the few” and accused the SNP government of passing on Tory austerity.

Addressing a rally in Glasgow he pledged more investment in public services and in ensuring there was greater equality of opportunity.

His speech coincided with new polls showing Labour closing the gap to five points on the Conservatives.

“Only two parties can win this election,” he said. “It is between the Labour Party offering hope, transformation and renewal of our society and a promise to become again a society of social justice and greater equality.

“Or, a Tory party intent on managing decline of our public services, a Tory party that cuts support and services to working people….. while cutting taxes for the very rich and for the biggest businesses.

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The SNP will today put Brexit negotiations and support for public services at the heart of its manifesto when it is launched in Perth. The Scottish Tories and Scottish Labour will attack the SNP’s education record.

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“I ask people in Scotland who is it to be? A Labour Party for the many not the few or a Tory Party only concerned with protecting its powerful and wealthy friends and donors?

“In Scotland I know you have an added dimension in the shape of the SNP.

“I have made my views absolutely clear over the past few months about how their obsession with another referendum is unwanted and unnecessary.

“It is a tragedy for Scots that they have not used the full powers of this Parliament to tackle poverty and inequality.

“Recent figures show that the numbers of children living in poverty have gone up 40,000 in the past year, to 260,000.

“That is 260,000 young people here in Scotland right now, as we speak, disadvantaged from the start of their lives as a result of political and economic decisions made at Holyrood and Westminster.

“Yet new stronger powers are available to the Scottish Government – powers the SNP demanded but refuse to use to solve the problems on their doorstep.

“Our mission is first and foremost to make our country one that ends poverty and inequality and ensures that the life chances of a child in Easterhouse or Possilpark are the same as those of the children in Bearsden or the West End.

“Our mission is to wipe out the shame of health inequalities, in this great city and every other city across our country.

“And its only Labour’s manifesto, which will annually provide billions of pounds of additional resources necessary to the Scottish Parliament that can achieve that.

“So I say directly to people who have recently voted Tory or SNP have a look at our manifesto, listen to our vision for our society and compare that with the records of the SNP at Holyrood and Tories at Westminster.”

Corbyn addressing STUC
Corbyn: manifesto will transform Britain

Mr Corbyn added: “We all surely want to live in a country that values work and the wealth creators on the shop floor; not one that values the rigged system that helps the likes of [retailers] Mike Ashley and Philip Green.

“That’s why we have committed to paying people a real living wage of £10 an hour; a policy that I know will benefit nearly half a million people in Scotland.

“And that why we have vowed to ban zero-hours contracts; which will benefit nearly 60,000 Scottish workers who currently don’t know how much they will earn from one week to the next. That insecurity… it’s got to stop.

SNP depute leader and candidate for Moray, Angus Robertson, said: “The reality is that only a vote for the SNP can guarantee a strong voice for Scotland at Westminster and stand up to the Tories.

“The Labour party don’t have the strength to stop the Tories and across Scotland we are seeing Labour jumping into bed with the Tories in a desperate grab for power.

“Labour have failed to stand up against austerity, failed to stop the cuts and independent experts have confirmed that Labour’s plans would not stop the slide into poverty that many families face.

“The SNP will do what is right, put an end to Tory austerity and back working households.”

 



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