Scotland could remain member of EU and UK, says Kezia Dugdale

SCOTTISH Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has said there 'may be a possibility' that the country could keep its place in both the United Kingdom and European Union.

Kezia Dugdale. Picture: John Devlin
Kezia Dugdale. Picture: John Devlin

Ms Dugdale said work is being carried out by former Labour justice secretary Lord Falconer that is “exploring some potential avenues around a federalist solution”.

With SNP leader and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon having warned a second Scottish independence referendum is “highly likely” in the wake of the UK’s vote for Brexit, Ms Dugdale stressed most voters north of the border want to see the country stay in both the UK and the EU.

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She said: “Right now with the time and the challenges we face, I think it is my duty to explore all options.”

The result of the European referendum, which saw most people in the UK vote to Leave while the majority of Scots supported Remain, has sparked massive political and constitutional upheaval.

Ms Dugdale said: “There’s no question that the United Kingdom as one entity is going through a process for Brexit just now, but what I am arguing for is there may be a possibility that Scotland could retain its place both in the UK and in the EU through a potential - and I have to say this tentatively - a potential federalist solution which could see us achieve that.

“It’s important I focus on that and I explore those options, because actually that’s what the vast majority of people in Scotland want - that’s been reflected in two referendum results.

“People in this country voted to be part of the United Kingdom and they voted to be part of the European Union.

“And if you listen to that democratic mandate and the voice of the people of Scotland, it’s the duty upon us to try to find an avenue where that may be possible.”

With the national Labour Party in turmoil and its leader Jeremy Corbyn under continued pressure to quit, Ms Dugdale said she wants to focus on her job.

She said she would “not be saying any more about Jeremy Corbyn”, but reiterated her belief that she would not be able to continue in her post if she had lost the support of so many parliamentary members.

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She said “I’ve been absolutely clear I could not do my job if I had lost the confidence of 80 per cent of my colleagues.”

Pressed on where Mr Corbyn is competent to remain as leader, she said: “If he’s lost the faith of 80 per cent of his colleagues, he can’t do his job, he’s therefore not competent to do his job.”

As she gave a speech in Edinburgh, one party activist complained that Labour MPs had “turned on” Mr Corbyn “for no apparent reason”.

He said: “Jeremy Corbyn to my mind is the only Labour politician who can appeal to Remain and Leave, he’s the only one who can do that, now he’s being chopped down by a bunch of MPs.”