Labour leader rules out SNP alliance
Corbyn leaves door open to indyref talks
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.
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.
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.