Second independence referendum will be held 'in a few years' says Jeremy Corbyn

A second vote on Scottish independence will happen “in a few years”, former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said.

Mr Corbyn, who stood down as leader in 2019 and has since had the whip removed by the party because of his response to a report on antisemitism within Labour, struggled during his time in charge to settle on a position on the constitutional question in Scotland.

But on Thursday, he told BBC Radio Scotland’s Drivetime programme he feels a referendum is imminent, adding that he does not “believe it’s a good idea to prevent people expressing a point of view”.

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“I’m strongly in support of people having their voice, therefore an independence referendum is something that I believe will happen probably within a few years,” he said.

Independence referendum prediction: Jeremy CorbynIndependence referendum prediction: Jeremy Corbyn
Independence referendum prediction: Jeremy Corbyn

He added: “I think the pressure is there for it, I think it will happen, and I don’t believe it’s a good idea to prevent people expressing a point of view and an opinion and, obviously, that it what democracy has to be about.”

During his tenure at the top of the party, Mr Corbyn’s position on independence appeared to shift repeatedly, including during the 2019 election campaign, when he said a referendum would not happen in the early part of the parliamentary term under a Labour government after previously saying it would not happen for the entirety of the first term of a Corbyn administration.

Mr Corbyn’s comments come ahead of a tour of Scotland as part of an “alternative Cop26” next week, run by his Peace and Justice Project, which will include events in Glasgow and Edinburgh focusing on the climate crisis.

A spokesman for Scottish Labour said: “Mr Corbyn is not a sitting Labour MP and private citizens are entitled to their views on a range of issues.”

A key Corbyn ally, the former Unite trade union boss, Len McCluskey, also said this week that Scottish Labour should shift its position to support another referendum and a party-wide debate can be held on their final position.

Mr McCluskey told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “In my opinion, they should support a second referendum on independence, what they actually do when that referendum comes can still be debated.”

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