Nicola Sturgeon “would roll out the red carpet” at 10 Downing Street for Jeremy Corbyn to become prime minister, the Scottish Conservatives have claimed.
In barbs with the First Minister ahead of the general election, interim party leader Jackson Carlaw said the Labour leader is “happy to concede” a second independence referendum to the SNP.
It comes after Labour’s shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said on Wednesday his party is “not going to stand in the way of a second independence referendum”.
He was echoing previous statements by senior party figures like shadow chancellor John McDonnell.
Corbyn insisted he is “not in favour” of another referendum on independence “any time soon”.
But on the campaign trail in London on Thursday, he also revealed he last spoke to Sturgeon ten days ago.
The First Minister hit back by citing a report in The Times that Labour and the Tories had agreed to give the Liberal Democrats a clear run at SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford’s seat of Ross, Skye and Lochaber.
Carlaw raised past comments by Sturgeon describing the Labour leader as “pitifully ineffective, unreliable and unelectable”, asking the SNP leader: “What is it that first attracted you to the independence referendum-supporting Jeremy Corbyn?”
The First Minister responded: “UK Labour’s position on an independence referendum is a lot more democratic than Scottish Labour’s position.
“They oppose independence, they don’t want another referendum, but they recognise it is down to the people of Scotland to decide that question – that is a basic issue of democracy.”
The Tory MSP said Labour had “given in” on the issue, adding: “The choice is clear.
“Either Scotland moves forward together and puts the constitutional division of the last few years behind us, or we choose more division, more uncertainty and the prospect of a Corbyn-Sturgeon alliance dividing us all over again.
“A vote for the Scottish Conservatives is a vote to end the division, get Brexit sorted and say no to another independence referendum.”
Sturgeon said: “I don’t want Boris Johnson to be determining the future of Scotland, I want that choice to be the people’s choice and that’s what people get if they vote SNP.
“I think the leaders of both UK parties are completely and utterly useless, and I don’t think they have got Scotland’s interests at heart.
“That is one of the many reasons I think Scotland needs to be independent, so we can be a country at the top of the table in Europe, so we can invest Scotland’s wealth in our public services, in lifting children out of poverty.
“That is why I think Scotland should be independent and I am determined to give the people of Scotland that choice.
“I am looking forward immensely to this election, because everybody across Scotland knows the only way to end the Tory-created Brexit division is to stop Brexit in its tracks.”