JEREMY Corbyn last night opened the door to a second Scottish independence referendum if Labour win power.
Speaking on the eve of Labour party conference he said he is “not ruling out” granting a second vote if he becomes PM.
He said he would “decide at the time” what to do if Nicola Sturgeon asked for his consent.
But he insisted that another vote on independence is not a good idea.
Mr Corbyn made the comments in an interview with BBC Scotland ahead of his party’s conference, which gets under way in Liverpool this weekend.
Scottish Conservatives have described the remarks as a “gaffe”, while the Liberal Democrats branded Mr Corbyn’s stance “extraordinary”.
The SNP said it would be a “democratic outrage” for any prime minister to block giving Scots a choice over their future.
The independence referendum in September 2014 was held after the Scottish and UK governments signed the Edinburgh Agreement, allowing the vote to take place and committing both sides to respect the result.
Asked what he would do if First Minister Nicola Sturgeon were to seek the power to hold a second vote on independence, Mr Corbyn told the broadcaster: “We would obviously decide at the time.”
He said a Labour government would invest in Scotland through a £20 billion transformation fund and a £3 billion increase in revenue spending and predicted that a Labour government in Westminster would be an “ally” to Scotland.
Pressed on whether he was ruling out giving the Scottish Government consent for the holding of a referendum, he told the BBC: “I’m not ruling out – I’m just pointing out the reality of it.
“We don’t want another referendum, we don’t think another referendum is a good idea, and we’ll be very clear on why we don’t think it’s a good idea.
“We think what’s more important is dealing with child poverty, housing problems and lack of investment in Scotland – 200,000 more children going into poverty has to be dealt with.
A referendum will not solve that.”
Responding to Mr Corbyn’s latest comments, Scottish Conservative constitution spokesman Adam Tomkins said: “Every time Jeremy Corbyn talks about Scotland he gives yet another concession to the SNP.
“It’s more proof that Labour are utterly weak when it comes to Scotland’s place in the UK.
“Jeremy Corbyn does not care about Scotland, and has no interest in standing up to the nationalists, as this latest gaffe proves.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie described Mr Corbyn’s position as “extraordinary”, as he reiterated his party’s opposition to another “divisive” referendum.
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“So many people with moderate and progressive views will be horrified by this careless attitude towards the UK,” he said.
“The case against independence is even stronger since the SNP’s Growth Commission admitted what we said about independence in 2014 was right.”
The SNP was elected on a manifesto that said the Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another referendum if there is a significant and material change in the circumstances that existed in 2014. SNP depute leader Keith Brown said: “We already have the democratic mandate to give the people of Scotland a choice over their future – a position backed by the Scottish Parliament. For any prime minister to stand in the way of that would be a democratic outrage.
“Of course, it used to be the case that Labour thought the people of Scotland were sovereign and should determine their own future. Now, apparently, it’s down to the whim of the MP for Islington North.”
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