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Jeremy Corbyn fails to get a mention at Scottish Labour Euro vote rally

David Martin, an MEP since 1984 and the second longest-serving member of the European Parliament, said the party was not fighting on the “issue” of leaving the bloc. His comments came as he joined former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard in their battle to shore up the party’s support ahead of Thursday’s vote. UK party leader Jeremy Corbyn did not attend the event in Glasgow and his name was not mentioned by any of the rally’s six speakers. Mr Martin used his opening remarks to praise Mr Brown, who he said “never fails to provide leadership and inspiration when we need it most”. He also told activists: “Labour is fighting this election not on a Brexit issue but on a platform that we share with allies across all 28 countries of the European Union.” Mr Martin, Shadow Scottish Secretary Lesley Laird, and Mr Leonard all used their speeches to issue warnings over the rise of the far Right.

Mr Leonard also claimed a no-deal Brexit could become Government policy if Nigel Farage’s Brexit party storms to victory. At the weekend Mr Corbyn refused six times to say if he wanted to leave the EU and he has been accused of flip-flopping over a second referendum on Brexit.

In February, Mr Leonard said he would prefer Brexit to another referendum.

Polls show Scottish Labour is likely to hold only one of its two European Parliament seats.

Mr Brown yesterday tried to boost support by accusing the pro-Remain SNP of pursuing a “far more extreme” version of independence than it has before.

He cited last month’s Nationalist conference rebellion in wich members voted to fast-track ditching the pound for a breakaway currency “as soon as practicable”.

He said: “In 2014, Alex Salmond told us we were only leaving the political union, that was all, we were staying in all the other unions. But what’s the policy now? It’s a far more extreme version of independence. They’ve moved from soft independence to hard independence.”

Later, asked about Mr Corbyn’s absence, Mr Leonard said the party leader was “in Westminster”, where Parliament is still sitting.

Tory MSP Annie Wells said: “This shows just how detached from reality Labour are. Now the respective parties north and south of the Border don’t even acknowledge each other in public. It’s no wonder they’re becoming such an irrelevance in Scotland.”

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