Nicola Sturgeon says it is ‘clear’ Jeremy Corbyn would allow second Scottish independence referendum
Nicola Sturgeon has said it is “clear” that Jeremy Corbyn would allow another Scottish independence referendum to go ahead if he became Prime Minister.
Scotland’s First Minister said it would be “mighty strange” for the Labour leader to reject her government’s demand for another poll in 2020 given he “supports self-determination for literally every other country in the world”.
In comments that will prompt angst among Labour’s top team, the SNP leader said Mr Corbyn’s public stance that he would not allow a referendum to take place in the early years of a Labour government was an effort to “spare the blushes” of his party’s chief north of the Border, Richard Leonard.
Launching her party's general election campaign in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon insisted that SNP MPs were prepared to help form a “progressive alliance” to allow a minority Labour government at Westminster.
But she said her party would "drive a hard bargain" in any negotiations, a strong hint that allowing a second independence referendum would be a red line.
When asked about whether support for a prospective Corbyn-led administration depended on Holyrood being handed the power to hold a referendum, she said: “I don’t think anybody would be surprised to hear me say that the SNP is not going to be giving support to parties that do not recognise the central principle of the right of the people of Scotland to choose their own future.”
"As it happens, and whatever what he might say to spare Richard Leonard’s blushes in the course of this election campaign, I’m not sure that’s a position that Jeremy Corbyn will find himself in.
“Jeremy Corbyn is somebody who supports self-determination for literally every other country in the world.
"It would be mighty strange if he didn’t support it for Scotland and the comments that he’s made, the comments John McDonnell has made, I think give a fairly clear sense of the direction of Labour’s travel in this.
"As I say, they have to sometimes couch that in a way that allows the Labour leadership in Scotland not to be too embarrassed given the completely incredible and ridiculous nature of their position."
Mr Corbyn told LBC Radio last month: "We will not countenance an early referendum in Scotland - that could come much later, only if the Scottish Parliament decide that they wanted it.
"I don't support Scottish independence so I don't think another referendum is a good idea. I want to get on with improving the lives of people across Scotland, improving austerity in the poorest communities."
Mr McDonnell told an Edinburgh Fringe audience in August that Labour would not block a second independence vote by withholding the legal powers to do so.
The Shadow Chancellor said: “We would not block something like that. We would let the Scottish people decide. That’s democracy.”
Ms Sturgeon has said that the Scottish Government will request a "Section 30" order from UK ministers that would allow them to hold a second referendum by the end of the year.
Scotland rejected independence by 55% to 45% in 2014, however overwhelmingly voted to remain in the EU in 2016, by 62% to 38%, while the UK as a whole opted to leave.
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"With a Hung Parliament no bigger than 10/11 (52.36%), the SNP could hold a huge amount of influence come by December and their prospects at the General Election look strong.
"Two years of Brexit chaos in Westminster have provided a big boost to the Independence argument, especially with discontent over the latest proposed Brexit plan that gives special arrangements to Northern Ireland.
"Nicola Sturgeon’s demands for another Indyref are clear, but she may have to wait a while – Star bet 5/4 (44.44%) that the next Independence Referendum takes place in 2022 or later, compared to 7/4 (36.36%) that they get one in 2020 Star go 5/6 (54.65%) that they win 51 or more Seats, returning to the Parliamentary dominance they had before 2017.”
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