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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10 Responses to “Corbyn pledges autonomy for Scottish Labour”

  1. Darren Cahil

    If Labour doesn’t take a position against Trident renewal, forget winning back Scotland from the SNP. The stubborn Labour right had better take note, then again, maybe that’s what they want, so they can pat themselves on the back and scream, ‘not even Corbyn can win back Scotland, he’s a failure, see, told you so.’

    As for the sectionalism on display from GMB general secretary, choose your side or be dispensed with as general secretary.

  2. johnm55

    Going to have to convince the Unions about jobs first. He could try and square the circle by promising to move it to somewhere in England. Although off the top of my head I can’t think of anywhere suitable.

  3. robertcp

    It seems that getting rid of Trident is popular in Scotland, so it is a bit strange that English and Welsh people have a different view. The fact that the Trident submarines are actually based in Scotland could explain some of this but do people in Carlisle or Newcastle feel much safer?

  4. Darren Cahil

    Interesting comments on Andy Newman’s blog Socialist Unity.

    ‘Unless this issue is sorted out and quickly, Labour can forget ever regaining the huge ground it has lost in Scotland.’

    ‘It has nothing to do with security and everything to do with power.’ – John # 72

    ‘I suggest that GMB members should ask the two remaining GS candidates, one if whom will shorly replace Kenny – Tim Roache and Paul McCarthy – what their views are and if Trident is the key issue for you, then vote accordingly.’ – Andy Newman, #74

    ‘I am sure that at both UNITE’s conference and GMB Congress in 2016 there will be motions put from branches supporting unilateral disarmament, and seeking to reinforce Corbyn’s position, which – if passed by the delegates – would give a clear mandate from the sovereign decision making bodies of those unions to support Corbyn on that issue.

    It has to be said though that any such motions would need to recognise the scale of skilled employment currently involved in maintaining the fleet of submarines, and be conditional on opposition to Trident including a costed and credible plan for alternative employment for those workers, and for those jobs to actually be in Faslane and Plymouth.’ – Andy Newman # 78

    ^ Jeremy’s cabinet has too many right-wingers in my view. Talk of party unity and peace is an illusion, the war within the party (between left and right), has already begun.


    It is the weak minded that think humans are a nice special species on our planet that want to get rid of the deterrent. The English should move the deterrent south and save money on the upgrade. If Scottish workers want to move south then that should be facilitated. However Scottish workers that want independence should have the bottle and conviction and stay put in Scotland. But of course hypocrisy will win out.

  6. Mann T.

    Scottish Labour Party is in a bad place. There are ways forward. But that means hitting hard, And they just do not seem to want to do it. For example they have no solid critique of the shambles of Scottish education or the Scottish Police both disaster areas caused by the ineptitude of the SNP.

    I am a Labour Party Member in Scotland, The party is so backward in its thinking. For starters I would put the whole party and its business online. The present level of in-party comms is miserable.

  7. Alasdair Macdonald

    You used the term “Scotland” five times and “Scottish” twice. Are you unaware that these are now verboten under the new “Beyondthe northofengland Labour Party”, which is, of course, autonomous.

  8. Alasdair Macdonald.

    This is havering! “Shambles”, “disaster areas” – words have meanings, and neither of these terms relates accurately to education and policing in Scotland. Yes, there are problems, as there always are, but, these are resolved by meaningful discourse, not bleating variations of SNPbaaaaaad. I am a former member of the Labour Party and have, currently, membership of no party.

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