Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn today told an audience in Glasgow that Scottish independence would lead to “turbo-charged austerity” and leave a “glaring hole” in public finances.
Corbyn said: “The SNP government simply passes on Tory austerity and is increasingly failing to govern effectively or fairly.
“Trying to talk left at Westminster when in opposition, whilst acting right in power at Holyrood, is not standing up for Scotland.
“It is not standing up for Scotland failing to tackle the scandalous level of health inequalities here in this great city of Glasgow and across Scotland.
“The SNP is not standing up for Scotland. It’s standing up for the establishment.”
Corbyn’s suggestion that Scottish independence would lead to “turbo-charged austerity” under First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s “Edinburgh establishment” drew a response from Sturgeon on Twitter, who called it “rubbish”:
The Labour leader’s speech came as he attempts to rebrand himself as an anti-establishment populist, and bids to revive the party’s ailing fortunes north of the border.
The party currently trails well behind both the governing SNP and the Conservatives in terms of poll ratings, and Labour’s inconsistent policy on the question of Scottish independence question since Brexit appears to be driving down its poll ratings further.
Corbyn was joined in Glasgow by Kezia Dugdale, leader of Scottish Labour, who backed his rival Owen Smith in September’s leadership contest and with whom he has a frosty relationship.
Last week he publicly rejected Dugdale’s call for a new “Act of Union” between the nations of the UK, saying that he “wouldn’t use those words.”
A spokesman for the SNP said: “Jeremy Corbyn’s comments are exactly the sort of carping from the sidelines that Kezia Dugdale warned about when she said that Labour would be unelectable under his leadership.
“Labour in Scotland are stuck in a sorry place between completely irrelevant and totally desperate, and today’s reunion is set to be a prickly affair.
“Just last week Jeremy Corbyn fatally undermined Kezia Dugdale’s plans on the constitution – and the attempts to paper over the cracks with this contrived photo op will fool no one.
“But it’s not just internal Labour division that is driving voters away, it’s the fact that nobody knows what purpose they serve.
“While the SNP are standing up for Scotland against a Tory hard Brexit, Labour have capitulated to the Tories at Westminster – opening the door to economic catastrophe.”
Rubbish. And if Corbyn wasn’t leading such a pitifully ineffective opposition, Tories wouldn’t be getting away with half of what they are https://t.co/1bMOfonMKt
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) January 20, 2017
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