Dugdale: Jez and I in “exactly the same place” on issue of second independence referendum

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has insisted she and Jeremy Corbyn are united in their feelings that there should not be another independence referendum before Brexit.

She said they were in “exactly the same place” on the issue – despite Mr Corbyn’s previous comments that it would be wrong for Westminster to block a second poll if Holyrood voted in favour.

Addressing journalists at the UK Parliament yesterday, Aberdeen-born Ms Dugdale also stressed the choice for Scots could not simply be between independence and a Tory Brexit.

And she pledged to make the case for “all those moderate Scots in the middle”, adding: “I want to put forward an alternative vision for the future of our country.”

Ms Dugdale said: “Jeremy Corbyn and I are absolutely of the same view that no future independence referendum could happen before Brexit.

“I discussed that with him last week. That’s the reality.

“Jeremy Corbyn and I are in exactly the same place on this issue.”

A spokesman for the Labour leader later denied he had changed his position.

He told the Press and Journal: “His position has always been the same, which is that there shouldn’t be a second independence referendum.

“Labour will oppose it in the Scottish Parliament, which is the correct place for that to happen.

“If unsuccessful … then it would be wrong for Westminster to block it.

“If it went ahead, Labour would campaign against breaking up the UK.”

Asked to clarify whether this would remain his view if Holyrood backed another poll taking place before Brexit, the spokesman repeated: “It would be wrong for Westminster to block it but the Labour party opposes a second referendum.”

Ms Dugdale said Mr Corbyn was “clear in his opposition” to independence and another referendum.

She added: “We want to make a very strong, very Labour case against independence.”

She stressed Labour’s campaign for Scotland to remain part of the UK would be led by her, but she added: “There will of course be Labour figures involved in it at different points.

“Jeremy in particular is a very powerful advocate for people who are motivated by anti-austerity politics.”

Mr Corbyn’s spokesman confirmed he would take part in any second campaign.