LONDON - (Labour Buzz) Previously, Scottish Labour had been angered at Jeremy Corbyn’s apparent ease at the possibility of a second referendum. Scottish Labour are opposed to a second referendum and the Labour Leader in Scotland, Richard Leonard, previously broke ranks to condemn an independence referendum sparking a row within the Labour Party.
When asked if he would support a second independence referendum, Corbyn said, “We’re don’t think independence is a good idea. The income and expenditure figures for Scotland indicate that an independent Scotland would face massive austerity and loss of public spending.”
In the event of the Conservative government collapsing a temporary caretaker government could be formed. The SNP had previously said they would support Jeremy Corbyn as head of the government with the sole purpose of seeking an extension to Article 50 and a subsequent general election.
Jeremy Corbyn suggested that Scottish independence could lead to huge cuts in social budgets north of the border and lead to prolonged austerity. He said, “On the Scottish referendum it is not our priority. We want to put £70 billion into Scotland. We will not countenance it in the early years of a Labour government as I think the 2014 referendum was supposed to be a once in a lifetime referendum.”
Ian Blackford, the SNP’s Westminster leader has stated that a Scottish independence referendum would be the price of any support for a coalition in the event of a general election returning a hung parliament. Speaking earlier, Blackford said “they have to respect the mandate we already have, and the Scottish people will be sending SNP MPs back to Westminster to make sure that mandate is delivered upon. That for us, under any circumstances, is non- negotiable.”
Former Prime Minister, Tony Blair had recently warned Labour over “horse-trading about the union.” Speaking in Scotland, Blair said, “I don’t think that Labour should give any indication at all that it’s prepared to put the union on the table as some form of bargaining chip.”
The Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell signalled Labour’s tightened stance on Scottish independence. Speaking to the Daily Record, McDonnell said, “what we are saying is, we don’t think there should be another referendum, it is an absolute distraction when there is enough for us to deal with. Our priority as a government will be ending austerity, investing in the economy and giving people a £10-an-hour real living wage.”
He added, “If, after those formative years, a mandate comes from the Scottish Parliament, we’re not going to stand in the way. But it’s certainly not our priority and we will argue that there’s no need for a referendum and, of course, in a referendum campaign, we would argue for the maintenance of the Union.”
(Written by Brendan Chilton, edited by Michael O’Sullivan)