Jeremy Corbyn challenged to press for People’s Vote in Brexit talks with Tories
Jeremy Corbyn will be guilty of “supreme cowardice” if he fails to press for a second European referendum in Brexit talks with the UK Government.
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said for the talks between Labour and the Conservatives to “have any purpose”, they must include the issue of a People’s Vote.
He urged the Labour leader to “get off the fence” and support such a ballot.
Mr Blackford issued the challenge in the midst of talks between the two parties, with embattled Prime Minister Theresa May trying to find support in the Commons for her Withdrawal Agreement.
Speaking at the SNP conference in Edinburgh, he said: “If Labour’s talks with the Prime Minister are to have any purpose, Jeremy Corbyn must press for a second EU referendum in the cross-party talks. Failure to do so will be an act of supreme cowardice.”
Mr Blackford confirmed his party’s MPs would “never” vote for the deal, calling on Labour to adopt the same stance.
The opposition parties at Westminster “need now to come together and do what the people elected us to do, oppose this Tory Government”, he argued.
He went on to accuse Mr Corbyn of having “failed to show any courage, any leadership” on the issue of a second Brexit referendum.
“The truth is this, it is the Scottish National Party that is the real opposition to the Conservatives in Westminster,” Mr Blackford said.
“Jeremy Corbyn can’t control his own party never mind take on the Tories. Hamstrung like the Prime Minister, Jeremy Corbyn has cowardly failed to fight in the corner of the people who want a final say.”
Next month’s European elections, which will take place in the UK if Mrs May cannot get her Withdrawal Agreement agreed before May 23, give Scotland the “opportunity to be heard” and to “show to ourselves and the wider world that Scotland wants something better”, he added.
But 20 years on from the first Holyrood elections, he said the time was right for Scotland to “finish the journey” and vote for independence.
The Scottish Government is “still constrained by the limitations of devolution”, he argued.
And with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon having made clear her intention to press for a second independence referendum within the next two years, Mr Blackford stated: “These are no ordinary times and this is no ordinary conference, we are here to make history.
“We are here to begin the campaign to make Scotland an independent, prosperous country in the European Union.”