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Kezia Dugdale forced to defend Jeremy Corbyn after by-election humiliation | UK | News

Kezia Dugdale forced to defend Jeremy Corbyn after by-election humiliation | UK | News kezia dugdale 771860

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The Scottish Labour leader saw her party’s spring conference overshadowed by humiliation for colleagues south of the Border in the Copeland by-election.

Ms Dugdale refused to criticise UK chief Mr Corbyn but admitted she was “worried” by Labour’s failure to win voters’ “trust” in the heartland Cumbrian seat.

She also rejected the idea of a cross-party group to fight independence in any future referendum and claimed it would be a “huge mistake”  for Tory rival Ruth Davidson to take the lead.

GETTY

Kezia Dugdale has ruled out a Better Together-style campaign to save the Union

The three-day gathering in Perth comes just weeks before Theresa May’s council election with polls predicting a repeat of last year’s Holyrood contest, when her party finished third behind the Tories.

Delegates yesterday backed her calls for a federal UK – with Holyrood given a swathe of new powers.

It gives the green-light a green light to a People’s Constitutional Convention but was branded “irrelevant” by Ms Davidson.

Strategists believe the blueprint will revive the party’s ailing fortunes and win back Unionist voters from the Tories and “soft” independence supporters.


Once we’ve got a united party we’ll be in a much fitter to state to fight any future electoral contest

Kezia Dugdale


Speaking after the vote Ms Dugdale repeatedly restated her opposition to another poll on breaking up Britain in the face of mounting SNP threats saying the “divisive” 2014 ballot had left “deep scars”.

But pressed at a tabloid Newspaper fringe event she made clear it was unlikely her party would again join Conservatives and Lib Dems in a formal joint campaign like Better Together.

Kezia Dugdale  Kezia Dugdale forced to defend Jeremy Corbyn after by-election humiliation | UK | News Kezia Dugdale 842483GETTY

The leader saw her party’s spring conference overshadowed by the Copeland by-election

She said: “I cannot imagine that happening.

“There is undoubtedly a point in a referendum campaign where for legal, and financial reasons, there can only be two sides and you would find different politicians from different parties in each of those two sides.

“That is very different from having a joined-up campaign with another political party.”

It came after her deputy Alex Rowley told delegates never will we stand on any platforms with a Tory party which inflicted such misery on the people of Scotland.”

Ms Dugdale later claimed was “hypocrisy at the heart” of Ms Davidson’s pro-Union platform insisting it was party’s actions over Brexit that were “undermining” the 300-year-old relationship.

Asked if the Scottish Conservative leader should lead a new campaign she said: “I think that would be a huge mistake.

“I think that in this referendum, that is not going to happen, that we could draw some lessons from the EU referendum and have a non-political voice at the forefront of that.”

She also suggested there could be a “legitimate case” for having a federal UK as one of the options on any future ballot paper.

Ms Dugdale earlier told the BBC she had “every faith” in Left-winger Mr Corbyn, who is due to address Scottish delegates on tomorrow.

kezia dugdale ruth davidson  Kezia Dugdale forced to defend Jeremy Corbyn after by-election humiliation | UK | News ruth davidson 842489GETTY

Ms Dugdale claimed it would be a ‘huge mistake’ for Ruth Davidson to take the lead

Pressed on the Copeland loss she said it was “undoubtedly disappointing” but refused to apportion any blame to Mr Corbyn claiming the party must be judged by its “common endeavours”.

She added: “Once we’ve got a united party we’ll be in a much fitter to state to fight any future electoral contest and I intend to do that side by side with Jeremy Corbyn.

“I recognise a collective failure on behalf of the party to win the support and the trust of the people in the North East of England.

“Am I worried about that? Of course I am, because I want to see a Labour prime minister and UK Labour government.”

Ms Dugdale will use her keynote speech today reaffirming her opposition to another refererendum insisting “the Labour Party I lead will never support independence”. 

jeremy corbyn kezia dugdale labour  Kezia Dugdale forced to defend Jeremy Corbyn after by-election humiliation | UK | News jeremy corbyn kezia dugdale labour 842496GETTY

The Scottish Labour leader said she had ‘every faith’ in Mr Corbyn

She is expected to say:  “But the unfortunate truth is this: with the SNP supported by the Greens, they have a majority in the Scottish Parliament.

“So if this country faces another referendum at any point in the future, I will work tirelessly to make sure that our side of the argument is successful again.”

But  Ms Davidson hit back: “On the day Labour is licking its wounds over its humiliation in the Copeland by-election, the Scottish party decides the way to reconnect with the real lives of ordinary families is a sleep-inducing plan for People’s Constitutional Convention and yet more upheaval to our precious Union.

“This is a party that doesn’t know when to stop digging. Never has Scottish Labour looked more out of touch or irrelevant.”


Source : EXPRESS

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