Nicola Sturgeon hit back at Jeremy Corbyn
The Labour leader this morning claimed the Scottish First Minister’s dream of breaking away from the UK would lead to “turbo-charged austerity” for her country and a “glaring hole” in Scotland’s public finances.
Mr Corbyn dismissed Ms Sturgeon’s demand for Scotland to remain in the EU’s Single Market despite the rest of the UK leaving, while he also suggested the SNP leader should get on board with Brexit and make the most of the “opportunities” presented to Scotland cutting ties with Brussels.
But Ms Sturgeon hit back at the Labour leader, branding his claims “rubbish”, posting on Twitter: “If Corbyn wasn't leading such a pitifully ineffective opposition, Tories wouldn't be getting away with half of what they are.”
She also reminded Mr Corbyn that Scottish Labour had voted in favour of the country remaining in the Single Market this week, just hours after Prime Minister Theresa May had confirmed the UK as a whole would be leaving.
In a speech in Glasgow, where he appeared alongside Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, Mr Corbyn insisted the case for Scottish independence had “weakened” since the SNP’s failed 2014 referendum amid the plunge in North Sea oil revenues.
He said Scotland leaving the UK would “lead to turbo-charged austerity and a glaring hole in the money required to fund essential services, and would not be in the interests of the people of Scotland”.
Mr Corbyn also attacked the SNP’s economic plans, claiming the Scottish Government “simply passes on Tory austerity and is increasingly failing to govern effectively or fairly”.
He said: "Trying to talk Left at Westminster when in opposition, whilst acting Right in power at Holyrood, is not standing up for Scotland.
"It is not standing up for Scotland failing to tackle the scandalous level of health inequalities here in this great city of Glasgow and across Scotland.
“It is not standing up for Scotland overseeing a growing attainment gap between children from poorer and wealthier backgrounds.
"It is not standing up for Scotland refusing to use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to invest in all of these areas – and many more where the SNP has failed.
"The SNP is not standing up for Scotland. It's standing up for the establishment."
If Corbyn wasn't leading such a pitifully ineffective opposition, Tories wouldn't be getting away with half of what they are
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Mr Corbyn also told the europhile SNP the Brexit vote offered “the chance” to mend a “rigged system that doesn't work for the majority of people".
The Labour leader said it is “vital” the UK Government hands more powers to the Scottish Government once Britain leaves the EU, as well as other devolved countries and regions across the EU.
He said: "Brexit means we have to develop a long-term plan to build a fairer, more just country.”
Labour is to set up a people's constitutional convention – similar to the Scottish constitutional convention which campaigned for a devolved parliament in the 1990s – to look at how power can be spread across the UK.
But Mr Corbyn shot down Ms Sturgeon’s calls for a separate Brexit deal for Scotland by insisting “the question of Single Market access is and has to be a UK decision”.
He said Labour is “determined to make sure there is market access to Europe".
Rubbish. And if Corbyn wasn't leading such a pitifully ineffective opposition, Tories wouldn't be getting away with half of what they are https://t.co/1bMOfonMKt
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) January 20, 2017
Mr Corbyn also insisted Labour MPs would not join SNP MPs in an attempt to block the authorisation of Article 50 in the House of Commons, despite fears of a growing revolt against Brexit in Parliament.
He said: "We've made it clear that the referendum result must be respected, it was a UK-wide referendum, it delivered a result.
"It didn't deliver a recommendation that there should be massive job cuts and impoverishment across the UK, it simply said we would be leaving the European Union.
"And I have made very clear that we will do two things – we won't block Article 50 because we have to respect the result of the referendum.
"But we will also use the opportunity of the initial Bill to implement Article 50 and the Great Repeal Act, or whatever they are going to call it, when it comes out in May, to put forward a case for accessing European markets, for social justice across Britain and for greater democracy across our whole society.
"And Labour MPs are being asked to respect the result of the referendum, however difficult they might find that."
Nicola Sturgeon's top tweets
Sun, July 24, 2016
With over 391 thousand followers on Twitter, First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon is a prolific tweeter, here are her best quotes.
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Nicola Sturgeon, Leader of Scottish National Party and First Minister of Scotland
Prominent Labour parliamentarians including former cabinet minister Lord Hain and ex-chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Mike Gapes have vowed to rebel if Mr Corbyn does impose a whip on an Article 50 vote.
A senior Labour source told the BBC between 60 and 80 of the party's MPs might be ready to defy the leadership if there is a vote in Parliament and try and block Brexit.
Mrs May will discover on Tuesday, through a Supreme Court ruling, if she needs to seek the consent of Parliament before triggering Article 50 and beginning EU divorce talks.
An SNP spokesman said: "While the SNP are standing up for Scotland against a Tory hard Brexit, Labour have capitulated to the Tories at Westminster – opening the door to economic catastrophe."