Corbyn pledges autonomy for Scottish Labour

With next year's Holyrood elections likely to determine Corbyn's fate, the stakes are high for today's visit


Jeremy Corbyn will today make his first trip to Scotland as Labour leader, with a pledge not to interfere in the running of the party north of the border.

In October last year the then-Labour leader Johann Lamont resigned from her post with a stinging attack on the UK Labour Party for treating the party in Scotland,  ‘like a branch office of London.’

As he heads north to meet with activists, trade unionists, MSPs and the leader of the party in Scotland Kezia Dugdale, Corbyn will pledge that under his leadership, ‘there will be no question about who is in charge of the Scottish Labour Party.’ He will continue:

“Kezia Dugdale is leader of our party in Scotland and I will be working alongside her to win back support for Labour.

“Kez has said she wants to make absolutely clear what the Labour Party stand for and who we stand with.

“That is also my mission across the UK. Too many people have told me they think Labour lost their way. We need to win back their trust by showing them exactly what difference a Labour government would make to their lives.”

With next year’s elections to the Scottish Parliament likely to be decisive in establishing Mr Corbyn’s fate as leader, he will warn that ‘the stakes are high for Scotland.’

“People can’t afford a Tory government whose policies are making people work harder for less or an SNP government intent on having the arguments of the past rather than looking to the future”, he will say.

“It’s time for a Labour government who would put our young people first and make sure we are narrowing the gap between the richest and the rest.”

“All eyes will be watching also the body language between Ms Dugdale and the UK Party Leader. Whilst she had publicly welcomed his election as leader, during her own campaign for the leadership of the Scottish party she had warned that a Corbyn leadership could leave Labour ‘carping on the sidelines’.”

Meanwhile amid mounting confusion over the Labour Party’s official position on Trident, the SNP are calling on the Labour leader to make clear what his party’s position is on the issue. Speaking ahead of the visit, the SNP’s deputy leader Stewart Hosie said:

“Labour’s position on Trident has become utterly indefensible.

“After days of chaos and infighting, Jeremy Corbyn must use his trip to Scotland to make clear whether he is leading Labour – or whether Labour is leading him.”

“Jeremy Corbyn needs to be straight with the people of Scotland – will Labour oppose Trident nuclear weapons on our shores, or simply allow the Tories to go ahead with this outdated and unwanted project?”

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter

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