Scotland faces double constitutional threat at Holyrood vote

Labour leader Richard Leonard has warned Scotland is facing a "double threat" of constitutional upheaval at next year's Holyrood election - as he pledged to focus on the "peoples’ priorities."

Labour leader Richard Leonard

Mr Leonard said SNP demands for a second independence referendum and the Tories "Brexit betrayal" are the wrong focus as a second wave of Coronavirus looms.

Mr Leonard was addressing the Labour Connected annual conference event today, a week after an attempt by rebel MSPs to stage a confidence motion in his leadership was thwarted.

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And he made it clear today that he intends to lead the party into next year's election.

"We know that the impact of the virus - the unemployment it has already caused and will cause in the future, - is not evenly distributed," he said

"So the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections are our opportunity to offer a plan to the people for dealing with the pandemic - for dealing with the unemployment crisis we will face, for dealing with the intense pressure our public services will be under and for investing in a just and green recovery."

Nicola Sturgeon has indicated that she plans to make next year's Holyrood election about Scotland's right to choose a second referendum, while the prospect of a No Deal Brexit under the current UK Tory Government when the transition period expires at the end of the year looks increasingly likely.

Mr Leonard added: "At next year’s election, Scotland faces a double threat

"An SNP that wants to separate Scotland from the UK and a Scottish Tory Party doing Boris Johnson’s bidding, whose Brexit betrayal is the single biggest threat to the future of the UK.

"It is only Scottish Labour that can deliver the people’s priorities."

The public health crisis, tackling poverty and inequality, building homes, dignity in retirement and a National Care Service, as well as tackling the slide in public services are among the areas Labour will focus on.

The Scottish Labour leader also called for Chancellor to extend the UK-wide furlough scheme which ends next month and introduce a Scottish-targeted approach.

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