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Labour could grant second independence referendum in 2021 if it wins general election

PA

Labour could grant second independence referendum in 2021 if it wins general election

A party spokesman ruled out granting one next year, but refused to say whether they would turn it down the year after.

A second Scottish independence referendum could take place in 2021 if Labour wins the general election, it has emerged.

A party spokesman ruled out granting one next year, but refused to say whether they would turn it down the year after.

They said: "In the early years, in the formative years of a Labour government, we wouldn’t agree to such a request.

“But in the longer run if there was a democratic and properly formulated request on the basis of a majority of the Scottish Parliament or the Scottish Government it would be wrong to block it."

However amid repeated questioning by reporters as to when the “formative” period would end, the spokesman would not explain further.

And pressed on whether that meant in 2021, they simply pointed reporters to Corbyn’s recent words on the issue.

It came after a Tory spokesman claimed there had been a “backroom deal” between Labour and the SNP to grant a second independence poll in exchange for Nicola Sturgeon’s MPs supporting Corbyn in a potential future government.

And Boris Johnson said Labour would seek to use 2020 to hold two more referendums; one on the EU and another in Scotland if it won a majority in December’s snap poll.

But the Labour spokesman dismissed the idea, saying “you can’t trust anything that Boris Johnson says”, adding: “There is no such agreement.

“There is no commitment to such a referendum. You can put that claim down to fantasy and fake news.”

Earlier on Wednesday Labour’s shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald told BBC’s Politics Live programme his party did not rule out a second referendum.

He said: “I want Scotland to stay as part of the UK. But I want to get a situation where we are in a customs union, we're in a single market that preserves our ability to trade. 

“And I hope that would go a long way toward satisfying a lot of people's concerns, making a second independence referendum unnecessary.”

But McDonald added: “We are not going to stand in the way of a second independence referendum.

“We don't want it, we want the UK to sustain.”

Responding to the comments, Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack said: “The election has barely begun and Jeremy Corbyn is already flirting with the SNP –  bowing to their attempts to break up Britain in exchange for their support. 

“Labour only offer the British people more of the arguing, delay and indecision that has plagued the last three years. Two further referendums on Brexit and Scottish independence will do nothing to bring Britain back together.  

“Only Boris Johnson will get Brexit done so the country can move on and focus on the people’s priories - invest in our NHS, tackle violent crime, and reduce the cost of living.”

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