Scotland politics

Jeremy Corbyn predicts Scottish Labour comeback

Jeremy Corbyn with Scottish Labour MPs Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Corbyn met his new Scottish Labour MPs, including Ian Murray (first left) who has been an outspoken critic of his leadership

Jeremy Corbyn has predicted that Labour will win more seats in Scotland if there is a second general election.

Labour won seven Scottish seats in last week's election - six more than in 2015 - and narrowly lost out in several more.

The party had held 41 Scottish seats before its collapse two years ago, when the SNP won 56 of the 59 seats.

As he welcomed the new Scottish Labour MPs to Westminster, Mr Corbyn said they would "soon be joined by a lot more".

Labour won 56 fewer seats than the Conservatives across the UK but did considerably better than expected as it denied Theresa May a majority in the House of Commons.

With Mrs May attempting to secure a controversial arrangement with Northern Ireland's DUP that would see its MPs back her minority government, Mr Corbyn has said he believes a second election could be held later this year or early next.

As he congratulated his Scottish MPs on their "fantastic result", Mr Corbyn predicted they would "soon be joined by a lot more Labour MPs from Scotland".

He added: "Scotland has elected Labour MPs in good numbers and has voted Labour in good numbers and I am very enthusiastic and very optimistic about the future.

"Our campaigning hasn't stopped, it carries on and as soon as this government finally recognises that it cannot govern then there will be another election and we will be back in bigger numbers still."

Some senior figures within the Scottish party - including leader Kezia Dugdale and Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray - had openly criticised Mr Corbyn's leadership ahead of the election.

'Destroying the party'

Ms Dugdale backed Owen Smith when he challenged Mr Corbyn for the party leadership, with the Scottish Labour leader arguing that her UK counterpart was unable to "unite our party and lead us into government".

And Mr Murray - who resigned as shadow Scottish secretary in protest at Mr Corbyn's leadership - tweeted earlier this year that Mr Corbyn was "destroying the party".

Mr Murray, who had been the party's only MP in Scotland - joked that he was "no longer Lonely Murray" as he appeared alongside Mr Corbyn and his six new colleagues.

Insisting that Scottish Labour was "back", Mr Murray said the party's new contingent of MPs would "take the fight" to both the Conservatives and the SNP.

Mr Corbyn has still to announce his new shadow cabinet, so it is not yet known which - if any - of his Scottish MPs will be appointed as shadow Scottish secretary.

The post had been filled by English MP Dave Anderson after Mr Murray's resignation, but Mr Anderson stood down as an MP ahead of the election.