Labour will not enter into coalition government with other opposition parties if it is unable to win an overall majority at the next general election, Jeremy Corbyn has said.
On the eve of the party’s annual conference in Brighton, the Labour leader said they would look to force an election once it was clear a no-deal Brexit was off the table.
However in a round of ITV regional news interviews, he said if there was a hung parliament and they were unable to achieve an overall majority, Labour would seek to govern as a minority government.
“We would go into government with whatever election result was. I am not doing deals. I am not doing coalitions,” he told UTV.
Mr Corbyn rejected the idea that Labour could offer the SNP a second referendum on Scottish independence in order to win its support at Westminster.
At the same time however, he refused to rule out a further public vote later in the parliament if there was a demand for one in Scotland.
“It is not our priority. It is not what I want, it is not what I support,” he told Border TV.
“But if after some years in government there is a demand, then in terms of the devolution settlement we will look at it at that time.”
Speaking on STV, he added: “Obviously in the longer run, if a request is made … I am not going to be the one who stands in the way of that.”
His comments came after shadow chancellor John McDonnell sparked a furious row over the summer when he suggested a Labour government would not stand in the way of a referendum if there was support for one in the Scottish Parliament.
The leader of Scottish Labour, Richard Leonard, said at the time the 2014 referendum had been a “once-in-a-generation vote” and that the Scottish people did not want to go through a second independence poll.
Mr Corbyn said that he would press for a general election once it was clear that Boris Johnson could not force through a no-deal Brexit against the wishes of Parliament.
“When the Prime Minister abides by the law which Parliament has passed which requires him if he cannot get a deal to apply for an extension, I think that is the time,” he told ITV Anglia.
“What we won’t do is to fall into some trap created by Boris Johnson which would lead us into a no-deal Brexit with all the chaos that would bring.”
Mr Corbyn defended his position of seeking to negotiate a new Brexit deal with Brussels and then putting it to the public in a referendum along with the option to remain in the EU, without coming down on either side.
He rejected criticism that his policy was a “muddle” and that he was failing to offer leadership on an issue of crucial national importance.
“I am not sitting on the fence,” he told YTV.
“I think leadership comes from listening. I think leadership comes from asking people to look at the realities of the situation.
“It is not a muddled position. It is a position that takes the issue seriously.”
Speaking on Tyne Tees, he added: “We need a democratic mandate from the people. What I will be campaigning for is to make sure the British people have that decision.”
- Press Association