Jeremy Corbyn has said today that there would not be a Scottish independence referendum held within the “first two years” of a Labour government, in a fresh bid to clarify his party’s position on the key election issue.
On Wednesday, the Labour leader told journalists in Glasgow: “No referendum in the first term of a Labour government because I think we need to concentrate completely on investment across Scotland.”
He added: “These are all hypotheticals in terms of what the election result will be. I was quite clearly saying that if a Labour government is elected on December 12th, our priority will be investment all across the UK.”
But the stance has been clarified again, and it is now understood that Labour in power would not block a fresh independence vote if the SNP won a majority in the 2021 Holyrood elections.
Despite Boris Johnson repeatedly claiming that Labour supports holding two referendums next year, one on Brexit and another on Scottish independence, Labour has so far ruled out a second independence poll in 2020.
But Labour is not ruling out a fresh vote being held at some point during the first five years of being in power in Westminster. As confirmed by Corbyn later on Wednesday, the Labour position is not to back an ‘indyref’ in the “early years” of government.
The UK Labour leader is currently touring key constituencies in Scotland and planning to join a campaign rally in Edinburgh with Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard later today.
On his visit to Scotland, Corbyn has criticised the “abject failures” of the Tories in Westminster and the SNP in Holyrood, and pledged to “provide the massive investment Scotland deserves”.