Blackford squirms as he is confronted with harsh ‘reality’ of second independence vote

Jeremy Corbyn has said a second Scottish independence referendum is “not necessary or desirable”. The Labour leader spoke out after SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon claimed he would agree to hold another vote on Scotland leaving the UK if he becomes Prime Minister. In response, Mr Corbyn said: “Labour does not support independence for Scotland and we do not think another independence referendum is either desirable or necessary.”

Speaking on the claims, BBC Breakfast host Charlie Stayt asked: “Let me ask you specifically about Jeremy Corbyn. So, what indications have you had?

“We’ve all heard his public statements which is that it’s a wait and see effectively, not ruling anything out in relation to offering a second referendum.

“Have you heard more than that? Are there talks going on that is offering more than that?

“Because clearly a Labour win, a Corbyn Government, is on the face of it the SNP’s best route to getting a second referendum.”

READ MORE: Charlie Stayt challenges Richard Burgon over Labour manifesto

Ian Blackford began: “But nobody, whether it’s Jeremy Corbyn or Boris Johnson, can stand in the face of the votes of the Scottish people. They should respect the people of Scotland.”

The BBC presenter interjected: “Well technically they can, can’t they? That’s the reality, they can.”

The SNP Westminster Leader replied: “Well I would simply say that we won the election in 2016, we then won the election to Westminster in 2017, we won the European election.

“We have a triple mandate that we have for an independence referendum, and one thing you can’t do is to stand up in front of the people and say ‘your votes don’t matter’.

“That vote was respected but circumstances change and people have the right to change their mind. In a democracy, people always have the right to change their minds.

“In that referendum, we were told we had to reject independence to protect our place in the European Union and now we’re being taken out against our will. People, in a democracy, when circumstances change, have every right to consider and reconsider their decisions.”

In the 2016 Brexit referendum, Scotland voted 62 percent to Remain compared to 53.4 percent and 52.5 percent to leave in England and Wales respectively.

Polling expert Sir John Curtice suggested substantial gains in Scotland could be possible for Ms Sturgeon’s SNP at the upcoming general election.

Sir John said: “Somewhere around 45 to 50 seats for the SNP at the moment seems perfectly possible.”

Recent opinion polls have given the SNP around 40 percent of the Scottish vote an almost 20-point lead of the Tories and Scottish Labour Party.

This is in part due to the resignation of Ruth Davidson and the confusion over Scottish Labour’s Brexit policy.

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