In Brief

Jeremy Corbyn denies secretly supporting Scottish independence

SNP MP Mhairi Black claims Labour leader has ‘sold his soul’ over the Union issue

Jeremy Corbyn has dismissed claims by Scottish National Party MP Mhairi Black that he secretly favours an independent Scotland.

A Labour spokesperson described the assertion as “complete nonsense”, reports The Times, while a party source accused Black of “trying to smear” Corbyn, adding: “Since becoming leader, Jeremy has been unequivocal in his opposition to Scottish independence.”

Black made the claims in an interview with HuffPost, saying Corbyn had “sold his soul” over Scottish independence and that she felt “let down” by him.

The Paisley and Renfrewshire South MP said she was certain that he did not accept the Labour Party policy of keeping Scotland within the Union.

“I’m raging at Jeremy,” she said. “He has totally sold his soul, especially in terms of Scotland.

“He has sold out in terms of austerity. He has sold out in terms of Scottish independence – because I know that he doesn’t believe the things he says about independence now.”

Asked directly how she knew Corbyn supported independence, she said: “From talking to him.”

She added: “It really annoys me when people get credit when the reality is different.”

Black “failed to offer any further details of when and where the conversation took place, however, or the exact exchange”, says the news website.

Nevertheless, the claims are likely to “fuel unease among Labour MPs, several of whom have previously expressed concerns over his stance on the Union”, says The Daily Telegraph.

The Scottish Conservatives claim the allegations show that Labour is “willing to sell out the two million people who voted No in 2014”.

Adam Tomkins, the Tory MSP for Glasgow, said: “This is yet more confirmation that Labour isn’t just soft on the independence issue, it doesn’t even care.

“Labour leaders on both sides of the border paid unconvincing lip service to the importance of the union, yet behind the scenes would vote Yes in a heartbeat.”

Corbyn has said that independence would be “catastrophic” for Scotland, but caused controversy last year when he reportedly said that a second referendum, following the one in September 2014, would be “absolutely fine”.

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