Jeremy Corbyn has insisted a second Scottish independence referendum would be “unwanted and unnecessary” as he ruled out the prospect of Labour doing a deal with the SNP after the General Election.
The UK Labour leader used a campaign rally in Fife, to hit out at the nationalists, accusing them of having “failed abysmally” in the fight against poverty and inequality because of their “obsession” with independence.
On a previous visit to Scotland, Mr Corbyn sparked an angry reaction from inside his own party when he said another independence referendum would be “absolutely fine”.
But with the Tories warning of a possible coalition between Labour and the SNP at Westminster, Mr Corbyn stressed the only “progressive alliance” in politics was between Labour and its trade union allies.
He said: “If you want progressive policies that deliver social justice, fairness and equality then you should vote Labour, vote Labours MPs to elect a Labour government
“Let me be clear - there will be no deals with the SNP or anybody else.”
He added: “Remember, this is not a referendum, it’s a General Election, and only Labour can form another government and offer an alternative that will transform the lives of people all across Scotland and all across Britain.”
Mr Corbyn was making his second speech of the day in Scotland, and his 13th appearance in the election campaign.
He told party supporters: “I’m loving every minute of it. We are absolutely up for this fight.”
He used much of his speech to criticise the SNP, which has been in government in Scotland for 10 years, accusing Nicola Sturgeon’s party of having “forgotten the day job and the basic requirements to look after people” while they “obsess over another unwanted referendum”.
The Labour leader questioned why people “want to vote for the SNP, who want to fight for another unwanted and unnecessary referendum, but who have failed abysmally in the fight against poverty and inequality”.
He said the nationalists had “failed in government in all policy areas as they systematically forget the day job and obsess about the constitution”.
He pledged Labour would keep Scotland in the UK and ensure the whole country is “a far fairer, a more just and equal version of anything the Tories could ever offer”.
The SNP in power in Scotland has “passed on Tory cuts without even a whimper”, Mr Corbyn claimed.
“Many people in Scotland rightly expect the Scottish Parliament to protect them from the vicious Tories. It is a disgrace that the SNP have not fought for these people and against poverty and inequality in the same way they have fought for independence.
“The truth is that the Tories and SNP are obsessed with fighting against Brussels and Westminster and winning back political power but neither of them want to take economic power back from multinationals and big business.”
Mr Corbyn’s message was echoed by Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, who told the rally there would be “no alliance, no pact and no deals with the SNP” following the election.
She said voters face a choice between “two nationalistic parties which will tear the UK apart” in the Conservatives and the SNP and “a Labour Party which will put the people first”.
Ms Dugdale insisted: “Nicola Sturgeon is only interested in one thing, to break our relationship with the rest of the UK.
“And having a Tory Government in Westminster is what she wants so she can continue her gripe and grievance all the way.”
She insisted independence is “not the answer” to Scotland’s problems, saying: “Why would we commit our country to even more uncertainty, even more cuts, and even more job losses.
“Independence is not an escape route from the Tories, it’s a fast track to turbo-charged austerity.
“And that’s why we would never do a deal with the SNP. Because we can’t deal with a party who would impose even more austerity on people across Scotland.”