Labour grandee Alis­tair Dar­ling re­fuses to en­dorse Jeremy Cor­byn

Bet­ter To­gether leader also says SNP caus­ing Scot­land to ‘wal­low in un­cer­tainty’

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - NEWS - Gareth Mcpher­son po­lit­i­cal re­porter gm­cpher­[email protected]­

Alis­tair Dar­ling re­fused to en­dorse Jeremy Cor­byn as he hinted the Labour leader will not last be­yond the gen­eral elec­tion.

Cam­paign­ing in the party’s only West­min­ster con­stituency north of the bor­der, the for­mer Chan­cel­lor of the Ex­che­quer also said Scot­land is be­ing left to “wal­low in un­cer­tainty” by the SNP’s ag­i­ta­tion for an­other in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum.

Asked if he would back Mr Cor­byn, Lord Dar­ling said the Lon­don MP is leader “right up un­til the gen­eral elec­tion”, be­fore adding that lead­ers “come and go”.

The Labour grandee was meet­ing ac­tivists in Ed­in­burgh South on the 20-year an­niver­sary of the party’s his­toric sweep to power un­der Tony Blair.

Ian Murray, who quit as Scot­tish Sec­re­tary over Mr Cor­byn’s lead­er­ship, is de­fend­ing the seat, where he has one of the small­est ma­jori­ties in Scot­land, amid fears the party will suf­fer a wipe-out north of the bor­der on June 8.

Labour won 41 seats in Scot­land in 2010, but could only keep hold of Mr Murray’s seat in the bal­lot five years later.

Lord Dar­ling was asked by jour­nal­ists in a Brunts­field boulan­gerie yes­ter­day if he would en­dorse Mr Cor­byn.

“He is the leader, he is the leader for the next, right up un­til the gen­eral elec­tion,” he replied.

“You know where I stand on that, but my view is that we need to get on fight­ing the gen­eral elec­tion cam­paign. “You know lead­ers come and go. “It’s im­por­tant we get the best pos­si­ble re­sult for the coun­try and that means hav­ing a sen­si­ble, size­able op­po­si­tion – mem­bers of a gov­ern­ment that can ac­tu­ally make a dif­fer­ence.”

The Bet­ter To­gether leader, who said he would not want to take on the role again in a re-run of the in­de­pen­dence vote, said the econ­omy was be­ing sti­fled by the threat of an­other ref­er­en­dum.

“You have a choice in pol­i­tics, you ei­ther cre­ate a pos­i­tive plat­form where peo­ple feel con­fi­dent they can in­vest in the long term be­cause of they are not wor­ried about where Scot­land is likely to stand in the fu­ture, or you wal­low in un­cer­tainty, which is hap­pen­ing in the present time,” he said.

Lord Dar­ling also warned that Tory Brex­i­teers are “hi­jack­ing” the de­bate over the UK’s fu­ture re­la­tion­ship with the EU.

He said: “In this gen­eral elec­tion, vot­ing Labour will prevent our coun­try’s fu­ture be­ing hi­jacked by Tory Brex­i­teers. And vot­ing Labour will send a mes­sage to Ni­cola Stur­geon that the peo­ple of Scot­land don’t want an­other di­vi­sive in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum.

“We made our de­ci­sion in 2014 and we are stronger as part of the UK.”

An SNP spokes­woman said: “While the Labour party is ex­pected to al­most dis­ap­pear into po­lit­i­cal obliv­ion at the gen­eral elec­tion, it is only a vote for the SNP that can stop the Tories and en­sure Scot­land’s voice is heard in West­min­ster.”

Pic­ture: Dave John­ston.

Alis­tair Dar­ling in Ed­in­burgh with lo­cal Labour can­di­date Ian Murray on the 20-year an­niver­sary of Labour’s 1997 land­slide gen­eral elec­tion vic­tory un­der Tony Blair, right.

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