Scots Labour election candidate backed independence in 2014

Kezia Dugdale's party is standing by Mr Beattie
Kezia Dugdale's party is standing by Mr Beattie
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A Labour candidate in the Scottish Borders for next month's election has admitted that he supported independence in 2014.

Douglas Beattie, who will contest the Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale seat, today insisted he would vote No in a second referendum and supports a federal UK.

But a string of tweets from the Labour candidate - a councillor in the London borough of Camden - during the last referendum has revealed that he was "gutted" at the outcome of the vote and had encouraged fellow party members to join the Yes campaign.

The tweets were published by the Tories who say it shows that Labour is in "chaos" over the constitutional issue.

Mr Beattie said: “I supported the Yes campaign in 2014, but like many Scots I would now vote No in any second independence referendum.

“I support a more federal United Kingdom, and Kezia Dugdale has laid out Labour’s plans for that in recent months. There shouldn’t be another independence referendum – it would be a distraction from the economic problems facing our country and the SNP should drop its plans for another vote.

“This is an election about living standards across the UK and Labour is the only party that can stop a Tory hard Brexit that would take us off a cliff edge.”

Scottish secretary David Mundell who holds the seat for the Conservatives said Labour is sending "mixed messages" on its support for the union.

He added: “Yet again Labour are in chaos over the threat of a second independence referendum

"They are trying to present themselves as solidly pro-Union but one of their own candidates backed independence.

"But no-one should be fooled after Jeremy Corbyn said he is ‘absolutely fine’ with the SNP holding a second referendum.

"Only the Scottish Conservatives will stand up to Nicola Sturgeon's obsessive push for a second unwanted, divisive vote on taking Scotland out of the UK.”