He said it was not up to Westminster to block another poll, although he insisted it would not be a good idea and he would advise against it. In 201
He said it was not up to Westminster to block another poll, although he insisted it would not be a good idea and he would advise against it. In 2017, Mr Corbyn’s general election manifesto said that the Labour party opposed an “unwanted and unnecessary” second referendum and would “campaign tirelessly” against independence. His comments yesterday confirmed the U-turn signalled by shadow chancellor John McDonnell last week, when he revealed that a future Labour government would not stop another vote on separation.
The party leadership’s new stance is also in complete contradiction to Scottish leader Richard Leonard and the majority of his MPs and MSPs. Asked if he agrees with Mr McDonnell, Mr Corbyn told the BBC yesterday: “It’s not up to Parliament to block it, but it’s up to Parliament to make a point about whether it’s a good idea or not. I do not think it’s a good idea.”
He added: “My view is that I’m not in favour of Scottish independence, the referendum did take place and a decision was reached on that.
“What I’d much rather is a Labour government given the chance to ensure that Scotland also gets the investment it needs, also gets the social justice it needs, and also gets the job opportunities for young people which have been denied.”
Jackson Carlaw, the Scottish Conservatives’ deputy leader, said the comments showed “once and for all that Corbyn cannot be trusted” to stand up for the Union.
He added: “Simply put, Jeremy Corbyn has surrendered on a second independence referendum.
“Both he and John McDonnell are preparing to hand Nicola Sturgeon the referendum she wants in exchange for SNP support for a Labour government.
“Scottish Labour has been left dangling in the breeze – they are utterly irrelevant, even to their own party.
“It’s clear who’s in charge of Scottish Labour and it’s not Richard Leonard.
“It’s a complete betrayal of thousands of Labour voters in Scotland who support the Union.”
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said the 2014 result should be respected and the “last thing Scotland needs is another damaging and divisive independence referendum”.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said he “feels sorry” for the almost 720,000 Scots who voted Labour following Mr Corbyn’s promise.
He said: “They’ve been hung out to dry time and time again by a leader who gets it wrong on independence and wrong on Brexit.”
However, the move delighted Ms Sturgeon, who tweeted: “I’m not Jeremy Corbyn’s biggest fan but on this he’s right.
“It is legitimate to oppose independence and to argue against a referendum – it’s not legitimate for Westminster to block a democratic mandate and a majority vote in the Scottish Parliament for indyref2.”
Mr McDonnell’s comments at an Edinburgh Fringe event earlier this month sparked a bitter civil war within his party, prompting the resignation of Scottish Labour general secretary Brian Roy.
Mr Leonard has since insisted he will vote against plans for another referendum at Holyrood, with the Scottish Parliamentary Labour Party issuing a direct challenge to Mr Corbyn.
It said: “We are clear Labour’s position on Scotland’s future is a decision for Scottish Labour, which the UK party must accept.” SNP depute leader Keith Brown predicted that Labour’s Scottish wing was heading for “electoral disaster”. He said: “Scottish Labour’s position is fundamentally anti-democratic and Corbyn’s remarks leave it looking even more isolated and irrelevant.
“They must get on the right side of democracy or face electoral disaster, given that polls show that four in 10 Labour voters support independence.”
A Scottish Labour spokesman said: “Jeremy Corbyn said that he is not in favour of Scottish independence and that he believes a decision was reached when the 2014 referendum democratically affirmed Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom. Jeremy Corbyn and Richard Leonard have made clear that there is no economic case for independence, especially with the SNP’s new position of ditching the pound and new policy of turbo-charged austerity to bear down on the deficit.
“What Scotland needs is radical reforming Labour Governments at Holyrood and Westminster.”