The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) : 2019-11-18

NEWS : 12 : 12


THE PRESS AND JOURNAL 12 NEWS Monday, November 18, 2019 4GENERAL ELECTION 2019 Corbyn’s no to indyref2 Labour leader promises a ‘fair allocation’ for Scotland ● BY TOM EDEN J the massive health and social inequality they face.” He ruled out a referendum before the next Holyrood election in 2021 and said: “Up until then, certainly not.” During his interview, Mr Blackford said the SNP were “wanting to lock the Tories out of office” to prevent the UK leaving the EU, in addition to fighting for a second independen­ce referendum. He claimed “a move towards independen­ce is unstoppabl­e, it will not change whether there is a Corbyn or a Johnson government in London”. “Our priorities, principall­y, in this election are about making sure we can eremy Corbyn has ruled out holding another Scottish independen­ce referendum before the Holyrood elections in 2021, following SNP demands for a vote next year. The Labour leader said he would “certainly not” consider having a ballot on Scotland leaving the UK within his first year of government. Mr Corbyn’s comments followed a warning from the SNP’s Westminste­r leader Ian Blackford that Scotland’s desire for independen­ce is “unstoppabl­e” and must not be blocked by the next prime minister. Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Blackford pressed the case for a Scottish independen­ce referendum and argued it would be undemocrat­ic to prevent another vote. Party leader Nicola Sturgeon wants to hold a second independen­ce referendum in late 2020 and has said she will write to the prime minister after the election demanding the power to do so. Mr Corbyn, asked later in the show if he could give Mr Blackford a commitment for a Scottish independen­ce referendum within the first year under a Labour government, told Marr: “No. I can’t give him that. “I do not want us to spend the first year on an independen­ce referendum,” he added, instead focusing on Labour’s pledge to invest a further £70 billion in Scotland through its planned National Investment Bank. “I say gently to the SNP, they will have the opportunit­y with a Labour government in Westminste­r of seeing a fair allocation of resources to Scotland, they will see an investment in Scotland that will deal with “They will see an investment in Scotland” escape Brexit – that’s the first thing – but also securing Scotland’s right to choose its own future,” Mr Blackford said when asked about forming potential coalitions. On the issue of securing powers to hold another Scottish independen­ce referendum, he said: “It doesn’t matter if it’s Jeremy Corbyn or if it’s anyone else, whoever is prime minister has got to respect democracy and the simple fact of the matter is the SNP won the election to the Scottish Parliament in 2016 on a manifesto commitment of a referendum if there was a change of circumstan­ces.” He said if the SNP wins a majority of Scottish seats on a commitment to hold another vote “it will ill behove any prime minister to stand in the face of democracy and the right of Scots to choose”.