Scotland politics

Brexit: Labour explores 'federal' solution for Scotland

EU and Scottish flag Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Pro-EU demonstrations have been held in Edinburgh and Glasgow following the Brexit vote

Labour is exploring a "federalist" solution that could allow Scotland to keep its place in both the UK and EU, the party's Scottish leader has said.

Kezia Dugdale said the work was being carried out by Labour's former justice secretary Lord Falconer.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has pledged to explore all the options for protecting Scotland's place in Europe.

Several experts have said the country would probably need to be independent to stay in the EU.

And on Wednesday the UK's Europe Minister, David Lidington, cast doubt on the possibility of Scotland securing a special deal to remain part of the European Union after Brexit.

Ms Sturgeon, who is also the SNP leader, has said a second independence referendum is "highly likely" if Scotland faces the prospect of having to leave the European Union despite voting in favour of remaining last month.

But Ms Dugdale said there "may be a possibility" that Scotland could keep its place in both unions despite the UK as a whole voting to leave the EU.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Ms Sturgeon (right), Ms Dugdale (centre) and Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson (left) all campaigned for a Remain vote ahead of the EU referendum

Speaking at an event in Edinburgh, she said: "There's no question that the United Kingdom as one entity is going through a process for Brexit just now.

"But what I am arguing for is there may be a possibility that Scotland could retain its place both in the UK and in the EU through a potential - and I have to say this tentatively - a potential federalist solution which could see us achieve that.

"It's important I focus on that and I explore those options, because actually that's what the vast majority of people in Scotland want - that's been reflected in two referendum results.

"People in this country voted to be part of the United Kingdom and they voted to be part of the European Union."

'Not competent'

With the national Labour Party in turmoil and its leader Jeremy Corbyn under continued pressure to quit, Ms Dugdale said she wanted to focus on her own job.

She said she would "not be saying any more about Jeremy Corbyn", but reiterated her belief that she would not be able to continue in her post if she had lost the support of so many parliamentary members.

Ms Dugdale said: "If he's lost the faith of 80% of his colleagues, he can't do his job, he's therefore not competent to do his job."

But a party activist at the event complained that Labour MPs had "turned on" Mr Corbyn "for no apparent reason".

He said: "Jeremy Corbyn to my mind is the only Labour politician who can appeal to Remain and Leave, he's the only one who can do that, now he's being chopped down by a bunch of MPs."