Jeremy Corbyn tells Scots: SNP are 'poor imitation' of 'real thing' Labour and cannot be government

Simon Johnson
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn addresses the STUC conference in Aviemore - PA

Jeremy Corbyn has accused the SNP of being a “poor imitation” of Labour as he tried to convince Left-wing Scots that the Nationalists were an irrelevance in the general election.

The Labour leader argued that only his party can form an alternative government and questioned why Scots would want to vote for the Nationalists when they can have the “real thing”.

Speaking at an election rally in Dunfermline, he again denied Tory claims he would do a deal with the SNP to put a minority Labour government in Downing Street and claimed his only alliance was with the trade unions.

Nicola Sturgeon was forced to repeatedly deny that voting SNP would have little impact as her MPs could do little to stop a Tory Government with a larger majority.

Scotland's First minister Nicola Sturgeon attends the STUC conference in Aviemore Credit: Reuters

But she repeated her claim that the election was a “two-horse race” between the SNP and Tories in Scotland and argued Labour was so far behind in the polls the only question was over who would provide the best opposition to Theresa May.

She launched an outspoken attack on Labour’s disarray over its policy on the Trident nuclear deterrent, saying Mr Corbyn should have “the courage of his convictions” and oppose it.

Both party leaders delivered keynote speeches to the STUC conference in Aviemore but Mr Corbyn refused to speak to the media before leaving in a blizzard for the Dunfermline rally.

He then accused the Nationalists of being obsessed with independence and argued that Scots who want social justice and equality “should vote for the Labour Party and no other party.”

Mr Corbyn said: “There will be no deals with the SNP. Why vote for a poor imitation that has overseen an increase in child poverty and the biggest increase since devolution of those people classified as poor despite being at work, when you can have the real thing in the progressive Labour Party?” 

The Labour leader added: “I ask people do they want to vote for the SNP who want to fight for another unwanted and unnecessary independence referendum but who have failed abysmally in the fight against poverty and inequality?”

In an outspoken attack on the SNP’s record in government, he said they “systematically forget the day job and obsess about the constitution” instead of making life better for poor and vulnerable Scots.

But Ms Sturgeon repeated her argument that the polls showed Labour was not going to win power, even with her party’s help, leaving Scots with a choice between the Tories and SNP.

Pressed repeatedly how Nationalist MPs could stop Mrs May if she has a larger majority, Ms Sturgeon insisted her current Westminster group had done a good job and even claimed credit for the Chancellor’s climbdown on the National Insurance increase.

File photo dated 20/01/16 of the Weapons Engineer Officer's Tactical Trigger, that would be used in the final stage of a nuclear missile launch, on board Vanguard-class submarine HMS Vigilant Credit: PA

On Sunday Mr Corbyn told the BBC’s Andrew Marr he would not use Trident but within hours, the Labour Party was forced to issue an embarrassing statement clarifying that it still supports the nuclear deterrent.

Ms Sturgeon, who opposes the deterrent but backs Nato, said: "Labour on Trident is as confused as Labour is on so many other issues. That gets to the heart of Labour’s lack of credibility as an alternative government.

She added: “Labour should have the guts to simply say that. It’s what we’re told Jeremy Corbyn believes so he should have the courage of his convictions and say it.” Scottish Labour has previously symbolically voted to scrap Trident against the wishes of Ms Dugdale.

John Lamont, Scottish Conservative Chief Whip, said: “It’s a chaotic approach which tells you Labour don’t care for the thousands of people whose jobs depend on it, and don’t have a clue on the issue of defence.”

 

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