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Dugdale launches national campaign against indyref2

Kezia Dugdale is asking the public to sign a pledge against a referendum.

By STV News

Published 25 Feb 2017.

Scottish Labour has launched a national petition against a second independence referendum.

The campaign was revealed by the party's leader Kezia Dugdale during her address to her party's conference in Perth.

Dugdale is calling on members of the public to sign a pledge "against a second independence referendum and...a reformed UK" on a Scottish Labour website.

Scottish Labour members endorsed plans on Friday to reform the UK and create a federal system of governance.

Former prime minister Gordon Brown will meet with Dugdale, and other Labour figures, to discuss the proposals for a federal UK in the near future.

Under the proposals, a convention across the UK would be established to decide which powers from the EU should be devolved to Scotland once the country leaves the organisation.

The Scottish Labour leader said: "Our country still bears the scars of the last one, and no one wants to go through that again any time soon.

"That's why Labour will never support one in the Scottish Parliament. 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.

She added: "To ensure that we show that our values of solidarity and co-operation can win out. And to protect the jobs and opportunities of everyone who lives and works in Scotland.

"That is why today I am announcing the launch of together stronger.scot and asking everyone who shares Labour's vision, of a strong Scotland inside a reformed UK, to sign up.

"If you share our values. If you believe our country is already divided enough. And if you believe the First Minister should shelve her plans for a second independence referendum. Then join with us."

John Lamont, Scottish Conservative chief whip, said: "Kezia Dugdale's speech today has been entirely over-shadowed by the shambolic nature of this conference and the intervention by the London Mayor.

"The chaos we're seeing in Perth only serves to demonstrate - once again - that Scottish Labour is a total mess and simply can't be trusted to hold the SNP to account.

"Kezia Dugdale's big idea of a petition against a second referendum is laughable. It comes seven months after Ruth Davidson launched our own.

"What's more, this is the same Kezia Dugdale who, only a year ago, was saying her MSPs could vote for independence if they wished."

Dugdale also used her annual conference address to announce plans to lobby the First Minister to increase child benefit through new welfare powers held by the Scottish Government.

Under Scottish Labour's proposals, child benefit would increase by £240 per year by 2021.

She said: "Today I've got another idea for Nicola Sturgeon.

"Two hundred and twenty thousand Scottish children are still in poverty. Charities, anti-poverty organisations and others across Scotland have called for an increase in child benefit to tackle this. And I agree.

"So today I can announce that Labour will respond to calls to support families by backing the campaign to top-up child benefit in Scotland.

"Using the new welfare powers in the Scottish Parliament, we will campaign to create a new Scottish Child Benefit."