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Labour in power will 'diminish appetite' for Scottish independence, Leonard argues

A SOCIALIST Labour government in Westminster would “diminish” Scottish support for independence, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said yesterday.

Labour’s plans for investment in public services and communities across the country would offer a radical change to the Tories after a decade of austerity, Mr Leonard said.

He also said Labour would commit to abolishing the House of Lords — replacing it with a second chamber for the nations and regions — in a bid to decentralise power from Westminster.

“For 10 years and therefore in most people’s recent memory, there has been a hostile, antipathetic government at a UK level to the government in Scotland and to the priorities of the Scottish Parliament,” Mr Leonard said.

He said Labour wanted to change the era of austerity “forever.”

“We want to start to invest and we think the way to build a future for people is to invest and that will require an increase in taxes for some people and for corporations for example and the City of London will have to make a contribution towards it,” Mr Leonard said.

“But we think that that’s the right thing to do –—to invest in better collective provision for communities and for people.

“So in that climate there would be, I think, a diminished appetite amongst the people of Scotland for breaking away from the UK because they would be able to see that actually, there are mutual benefits of being in the UK, that there are possibilities with a radical, reforming, redistributive Labour government.”

Mr Leonard also pointed out that Labour was the only party promising to give power to the electorate over Brexit.

He said: “The Tories are clearly now wedded to a hard style of Brexit, or even a no-deal Brexit is something that they haven’t ruled out, which would have big economic consequences across the economy in Scotland and for jobs.

“The Scottish National Party talk about their goal being to deprive the Tories of their majority — we don’t want to deprive the Tories of their majority, we want to be the next government and we want to start work from December 13.”

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