Dugdale and Corbyn share opposition to indyref2 before Brexit

Kezia Dugdale has said the UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn agrees with her that a second referendum on Scottish independence should not take place before Brexit.

Kezia Dugdale was in London on Monday preparing to address Labour MPs at Westminster. Picture: PA

Ms Dudgale told journalists the pair held lengthy discussions last week and were “in the same place” on the timing of any vote on Scotland’s future.

Theresa May has said she will block any referendum bid before Brexit, warning that “now is not the time”.

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Mr Corbyn overshadowed the Scottish Labour party conference two weeks ago when he suggested a second independence referendum would be “absolutely fine”. He later clarified that he did not believe one should be held.

“Jeremy Corbyn and I are in exactly the same place on this issue,” Ms Dugdale said. “We have both made it clear we have to respect the manifesto we put before the people in May last year in the Scottish Parliament.

“We are now in a position where we cannot possibly consider an independence referendum before Brexit.”

She added that she was “alive” to the fact that the party shared its position on a referendum with the Conservatives but said voters with “Labour values” would be crucial in any future campaign, and warned that the pro-UK side should be “very careful” about the scale of Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson’s involvement.

Ms Dugdale added: “Independence would lead to turbo-charged austerity, which is why Jeremy is so clear in his opposition to independence and an independence referendum.”

The Scottish Labour leader said that she would lead her party’s campaign for the Union when a second referendum does take place, and that Mr Corbyn would campaign in Scotland. During the 2014 referendum when he was a backbench MP, Mr Corbyn is reported not to have campaigned in Scotland. Ms Dugdale said “he will do that now”.

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said: “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.” Asked if Labour MPs would allow a referendum to take place before the UK had left the EU, the spokesman said: “It would be wrong for Westminster to block it but the Labour party opposes a second referendum.”

Last night Ms Dugdale was due to address a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party at Westminster, with Mr Corbyn in attendance.