Kezia Dugdale: ‘The Labour Party I lead will never support independence’

Written by Jenni Davidson on 25 February 2017 in News

The Scottish Labour leader will promise to “work tirelessly” in the battle against Scottish independence

Kezia Dugdale - Image credit: Jonathan Ellenor

Labour will never support independence under her leadership, Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale will vow today.

In a keynote speech to the Scottish Labour conference in Perth this afternoon, Dugdale will also pledge to “work tirelessly” to win the argument if a second independence referendum is held.


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“The Labour Party I lead will never support independence,” she will tell delegates. 

“It’s not an escape from Tory rule, it’s not an escape from Brexit, it’s not an alternative; it’s the same old song that the SNP has been singing for decades. 

“It’s time Nicola Sturgeon changed her tune.

“I want the First Minister of Scotland to focus on the Scottish NHS, on our economy and on our schools. I don’t want a first minister whose priority is the constitution.”

Scotland still “bears the scars” of the last referendum, Dugdale will state, saying that “no one wants to go through that again anytime soon.”

Yesterday the SNP accused Labour of “hoisting the white flag” over Brexit, after Labour MP Ian Murray claimed the SNP has “absolutely no mandate for another independence referendum.”

Responding to Murray’s comments – made in a speech outlining Scottish Labour’s plans for a federal United Kingdom – the SNP accused Labour of capitulating to the Tories over Brexit.  

SNP MSP Linda Fabiani said: “Labour’s conference anthem should be ‘we’ll keep the white flag flying here’ – their stance is a shameful capitulation to the Tories on Brexit.

“They should apologise to voters for that, and for now trying to mislead people over the clear democratic mandate the SNP government has for an independence referendum, should that be deemed necessary to protect our vital national interests.”

Meanwhile Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has suggested that Jeremy Corbyn should say he’s “washing his hair” if asked to join the fight against independence.

Rennie said: “Jeremy Corbyn's lacklustre support for the European Union was a major factor in the failure of the Remain campaign during the European referendum.

"If anyone asks Jeremy Corbyn to help in any future campaign against independence, he should just tell them he's too busy washing his hair in Islington. 

"If the nationalists get their way and we end up in another divisive independence referendum the last thing we need is the special touch of Jeremy Corbyn.”

Jeremy Corbyn will address the Scottish Labour conference tomorrow.

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