BBC Question Time: Jeremy Corbyn says he will be 'neutral' in second EU referendum

Jeremy Corbyn has said he will take a “neutral stance” in a second EU referendum as Prime Minister if Labour form the next government.

The Labour leader said he would not campaign either for a new Brexit deal negotiated by his own government, or to remain in the EU.

Labour members agreed at their conference in September that there would be a special conference to decide which way the party would campaign in the event of a second EU referendum.

However, taking part in a BBC Question Time election special, Mr Corbyn revealed he would not be bound by that process.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

“I will adopt, if I am Prime Minister at the time, a neutral stance so I can credibly carry out the result of that to bring our communities and country together rather continuing endless debate about the EU and Brexit,” he told the programme broadcast .

The Labour leader also confirmed that he may be willing to grant the powers to hold a second independence referendum as early as 2021.

“There are parliamentary election in Scotland in 2021, and obviously an expression will come from that,” Mr Corbyn said.

The Labour leader said he would not support a new referendum on Scottish independence in the "early years" of an administration.

He said: "In the early years of a Labour government we will not be supporting an independence referendum, instead we will be investing in Scotland."

Pressed on what the term "early years" meant, the Labour leader said: "The early years, first two years, at least."

Nicola Sturgeon followed the Labour leader, and cast doubt on whether Mr Corbyn would hold firm against a referendum in Scotland in 2020 if the SNP’s support was essential to forming a government.

She said: "Do you think he's going to walk away from the chance to end austerity, to protect the NHS, stop Universal Credit, simply because he wants for a couple of years to prevent Scotland having the right to self-determination?

"I'm not sure he's going to compromise the chance to have a Labour government for that issue."

A Conservative Party spokeswoman said: “Jeremy Corbyn has just confirmed that he has no plan for Brexit - he will not even say if he thinks we should leave or remain.

“All he offers is months and months of dither and delay followed by the chaos of another two referendums.”