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Leonard: Labour to oppose indyref2 in next UK manifesto

The Scottish party leader will make the commitment at Labour conference in Liverpool.

Richard Leonard: UK needs radical Labour governments.
Richard Leonard: UK needs radical Labour governments. PA

Labour will commit to opposing a second independence referendum in its next UK manifesto, according to Richard Leonard.

The Scottish Labour leader will make the announcement at Labour conference in Liverpool this week.

He will tell party delegates that Scotland does not need a second independence vote but instead requires radical Labour governments in Holyrood and Westminster.

But speaking to the BBC, Leonard refused to say whether he had discussed his manifesto announcement with Jeremy Corbyn.

It comes after the UK party leader refused to rule out consenting to a fresh referendum on the independence question if he became Prime Minister.

He said he would "decide at the time" whether to grant the Scottish Government a Section 30 order if it demanded a referendum.

A legally binding vote on independence would require this order, approved by the UK Government, to transfer the necessary powers to Holyrood.

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1431138-corbyn-refuses-to-rule-out-indyref2-if-he-becomes-pm/ | default

Leonard is expected to tell conference: "We don't need another independence referendum to change Scotland - as far as I am concerned, we've just had one.

"The majority of people do not want one, and as we meet here this week with the prospect of a general election, I can make clear today that the next Labour manifesto will oppose another independence referendum.

"We don't need a referendum, we need the election of a Scottish Labour Government which is prepared to use its powers, and a confident Labour Party reawakening hope out of despair across these shared islands."

Leonard declined to confirm that he had discussed this proposal with Corbyn.

Speaking on the BBC's Sunday Politics Scotland programme, he said: "I have conversations with Jeremy Corbyn on all sorts of issues."


SNP deputy leader Keith Brown described Leonard's proposal as an "extraordinary position from the Labour party".

He told STV News: "Fresh from having lost hundreds of thousands of supporters after the referendum in 2014 for cosying up to the Tories, we now have this position where they're setting themselves against the democratic rights of the people of Scotland.

"I've seen people today, Labour people, saying this is 'bonkers', and so it is.

"They will pay a high price if they choose to continue to ignore the democratic rights of the people of Scotland."

Alex Salmond and David Cameron signed the Edinburgh Agreement which granted Section 30 powers to the Scottish Government ahead of the 2014 referendum.

But when Nicola Sturgeon's government requested such an order last year, Theresa May refused, saying "now is not the time", shortly before calling a snap general election.

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