Kezia Dugdale denies backing indyref 2 in private conversation with Nicola Sturgeon

Written by Tom Freeman on 7 June 2017 in News

War of words erupts over claim by Nicola Sturgeon that Kezia Dugdale privately backed a second vote on independence

Kezia Dugdale - credit David Anderson/Holyrood

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has denied a claim by Nicola Sturgeon that she said her party could back a second independence referendum.

In a live TV debate on STV the First Minister claimed Dugdale told her privately that Labour could drop its opposition to another independence referendum after the Brexit vote.

Dugdale called the claim "a categoric lie" during a furious fall-out.


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During a section of the debate when party leaders cross-examined each other, Sturgeon said: "You and I spoke the day after the EU referendum and you told me then that you thought the change with Brexit meant that Labour should stop opposing a referendum." 

"No I didn't," replied Dugdale, who later tweeted: "Any suggestion that I ever said to Sturgeon that I'd change Labour's position on #indyref2 is a categoric lie [and] shows how desperate she is."

The Scottish Conservatives said the revelation "blows a hole" in Labour's claim to be opposed to independence and another referendum.

Adam Tomkins MSP said: "Kezia Dugdale has spent this campaign claiming she opposes a second independence referendum, now we learn she's been having private chats with Nicola Sturgeon about her support for it.

"It is an utter disgrace and it proves that the only pro-UK vote at this election is for the Scottish Conservatives."

During the debate Dugdale was pressed by Tory leader Ruth Davidson on comments made by UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn that he would be "absolutely fine" with a referendum on independence even though he supported the union.. 

Dugdale responded: "You know fine well, Ruth, that we believe that a second independence referendum is unwanted and unnecessary and I think what is really important is that you stop waking up every single day trying to undermine the union that you say you care about.”

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