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As Boris's lead rises...

Corbyn dodges Brexit question, says Scots poll can wait

Jeremy Corbyn: People of Scotland will see the benefits of Labour

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn again evaded stating whether he would support Britain leaving or remaining in the EU and said there would be no Scottish independence referendum in the “early years” of a Labour government.

Mr Corbyn, speaking on television, said he would seek negotiations in Brussels on a new EU deal immediately after taking office that would be put to the British public in a new referendum.

“We will negotiate within three months a credible option of Leave and put that alongside Remain in a referendum,” he said. that Labour would seek a “close” relationship with Europe that will include a customs union – protecting the Good Friday agreement in Ireland – and workers’ rights.

“Jeremy Corbyn can say this: that we have to have a close trading relationship with Europe, we won’t crash out into the arms of Donald Trump, we won’t be doing sweetheart trade deals with the USA and we won’t be wrecking our National Health Service in the process.”

“I do think we’ve got to settle this and we’ve got to do this by agreeing a relationship with Europe either in or out.”

He said the negotiating team would be representative of “all parts of the UK” and areas that have “different views on it”. He said: “It is very important that all parts of the country are represented in this,” adding that they would “all be Labour voices”.

Mr Corbyn said immigrants benefited the British economhy but refused to confirm if free movement will be included in the party manifesto on Thursday, saying only there will be “a great deal of movement” and that there would not be a restriction of the type which Theresa May instigated.

On Scottish independence, he told political interviewer Andrew Marr that there would be no concession to a referendum before the Holyrood election in 2021, hinting that he hopes a Labour resurgence would further erode the call for separation.

He suggested that Scots would find independence less appealing under a Labour government at Westminster which would pour investment into Scotland.

Asked about requiring the support of the SNP to form a government, he said Labour would not be “doing deals with anybody” and that the party was not seeking to form a coalition.

“I do not want to spend the first year [in government] on an independence referendum,” he said.

“They will see a fair allocation of resources to Scotland. The people of Scotland will see the benefits of a Labour government in Westminster.”

Tory lead surges

Setting out their post-Brexit immigration policy, the Conservatives said they would treat EU and non-EU migrants the same from January 2021, including a five-year wait to obtain welfare payments and a surcharge to access health services.

“As we come out of the EU we have a new opportunity for fairness and to make sure all those who come here are treated the same. We will make our immigration system equal,” Tory leader Boris Johnson said in a statement.

The Conservatives lead Labour by 10-17 percentage points, four polls late on Saturday showed.

Both parties will publish their election manifestos this week. Mr Corbyn and Mr Johnson are due to go head-to-head in their first televised debate on Tuesday evening, amid a complaint from the LibDems and SNP that they have been excluded.

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