The independence debate is creating a false “divide” in Scotland, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will claim today.
The UK leader will seek to shift the focus away from problems engulfing his party over anti-semitism and Brexit, as he addresses delegates at the Scottish party conference in Dundee.
Corbyn will insist that the “real divide in our society” is not defined by independence or Brexit - but between Scots struggling to get by and the affluent classes.”reaping the rewards.”
He will also seek to place climate change at the heart of the party’s policy agenda insisting this is a “class issue” which will affect poorer people the most.
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said last weekend that a UK Labour government would not authorise a second referendum on Scottish independence, despite Nicola Sturgeon indicating she plans to hold one.
Corbyn will today claim the independence debate does not address the real problems facing Scots.
“The truth about Labour is, we’re not obsessed by constitutional questions, like the others are,” Corbyn will say later today.
“We’re obsessed with tackling the problems people face in their daily lives. Ending insecurity at work. Ending poverty wages. Ending the cuts to our public services.
“Because we believe that the real divide in our society is not between people who voted yes or no for independence. And it’s not between people who voted to remain or to leave the EU.
“The real divide is between the many – who do the work, create the wealth and pay their taxes – and the few, who set the rules, reap the rewards and dodge their taxes.
“So let me spell it out: our mission is to back the working class, in all its diversity.”
The Labour leader has been on the back foot on recent days. It has emerged that the party’s support for a Peoples’ Vote on Brexit - announced last week - will be conditional on failure to secure a “softer” Brexit. The party has also been stung after Equality and Human Rights Commission opened an investigation into anti-semitism in Labour ranks.
His speech to delegates today will see the UK leader seek to switch the focus onto policy, with the “climate crisis” being thrust to the heart of Labour’s message.
“There’s no bigger threat to our future,” Corbyn will add.
“And fundamentally, the destruction of our climate is a class issue.
“It’s working class communities that suffer the worst pollution and the worst air quality. It’s working class people who will lose their jobs as resources run dry. And it is working class people who will be left behind as the rich escape rising sea levels.
“Big corporations will never do anything serious about it. The Conservative government will never do anything serious about it either. But Labour will make it a central objective of our industrial strategy.
“We need to reduce our net emissions to zero by 2050 at the latest - it’s not just an ecological priority, it’s a socialist priority too.
The human cost of austerity will also be highlighted by the UK leader as a “moral outrage.”.
He will say: “We shouldn’t have a situation where a quarter of children in Scotland are living in poverty. We shouldn’t have thousands of Scottish young people without a home. We shouldn’t have life expectancy in Britain falling.
“What is happening to our country? It’s not only an economic and social disaster, it is a moral outrage.”