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Leader challenged

Leonard in firing line over Brexit vote confusion

Richard Leonard in Airdrie

Richard Leonard: said to have not signed off statement (pic: Terry Murden)

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard was facing criticism amid claims he did not sign off a statement in which it said the party intends to vote against the deal.

Critics pounced after three of its senior figures appeared to offer differing position statements on the vote.

UK Labour has already declared that it will vote with the government today to avoid a No Deal outcome from the Brexit talks.

However, a press release from the party in Scotland said “Scottish Labour will vote to deny legislative consent to Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.”

Following what was described as a stormy meeting of MSPs earlier today, Anas Sarwar, the party’s constitution spokesman, later offered a quick softening and revision of the Scottish party statement. He said Labour will be opposing the consent motion to express “deep dissatisfaction with the process in symbolic votes”. 

He added: “Our colleagues in the UK Labour Party are acting in the national interest at Westminster and reject a no-deal scenario.

“Unlike the SNP, we will do nothing to risk a No-Deal Brexit. This is grown-up politics in contrast with the nationalists’ game-playing.”

Beforehand, Labour’s only Scottish MP and Shadow Scottish Secretary Ian Murray, said he would be voting for the deal, saying that “while SNP MPs are endorsing no-deal, Labour sees this deal as the floor, not the ceiling, so will waste no time trying to build on it.”

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