Corbyn: 'Labour government should back second independence referendum'

The former Labour leader said Scotland had a 'democratic right' to vote on whether it remains part of the UK.

Jeremy Corbyn insists Labour should back second Scottish independence referendum STV News

Jeremy Corbyn has said he hopes there is a referendum on Scottish independence “soon” and that a future Labour government would support it.

Speaking at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Islington North MP was questioned by a member of the audience about his stance on independence.

During his time as Labour leader, Corbyn held a number of positions on Scottish independence, telling journalists during a visit north of the border in the lead-up to the 2019 election there would not be a vote on independence in the first term of a government he led, before saying later there would not be one “in the early years” of a new parliament.

At the event on Thursday, Corbyn said he would not have allowed another referendum in the first two years of his premiership.

He told the crowd at the Freemason’s Hall in Edinburgh: “Yes, I do support the principle of having a referendum and I hope that happens soon.

“I suspect the British Government will try and oppose it – I hope that a Labour majority would also support a referendum.

“I think it’s a democratic right to decide your own future.”

Corbyn later added: “My view is that if the people of Scotland want that referendum to defend their future, then they should have that right.

“I don’t think there should be a power of veto by the UK Government or the UK Prime Minister on this.

“I made clear before the 2019 election that if we went into government we would be accepting of the principle that if Scotland wanted a referendum after two years, that would be what we would agree to do – that’s what I said at the time and that’s what I stand by.”

Corbyn – who was kicked out of Labour in a row over antisemitism – also told the event he had “been treated very badly” by the party, but he pledged to work for his constituents if he is returned to the seat at the next general election, which is expected next year.