RICHARD Leonard has said he will stop the clamour for indyref2 by becoming the next first minister of Scotland.

Launching Scottish Labour’s General Election campaign in Glasgow, the MSP insisted his party’s stance on independence was clear.

Over the weekend, Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow business secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey, said Labour would not block a second referendum if the Scottish Government pushed for one after the 2021 Holyrood election.

She told Sky News: “Ultimately what we have said is that, after the next Scottish Government elections, if the Scottish Government determine they want to pursue another referendum and they go through the legislative process within their own government to push that forward, then as a government we wouldn’t stand in their way.”

Asked about the frontbencher’s comments at yesterday’s rally, Leonard said: ”I will be leading the Scottish Labour Party into the 2021 elections and I will be leading the Scottish Labour Party into those elections to win. So my position is clear, there will not be a mandate for a second independence referendum after the 2021 vote.”

He later said the SNP could find their argument for indyref2 taken away following another referendum on Brexit.

“The election of a Labour government in December will mean that by the middle of next year the people will have a choice in a Brexit referendum," Leonard said. "The premise currently of the SNP’s call for a second independence referendum is Brexit. In seven months time we could have a Remain vote in a Brexit poll of the people that will take away that argument completely.”

The Scottish Labour leader also insisted that there would be no deal or pacts between a minority Labour government and the SNP and that next month’s General Election should not be viewed as a proxy vote on the constitution.

“There is no pact with the SNP," he said. "There’ll be no deals with the SNP. There will be no coalition with the SNP. We’ve said that we are standing in this election to form a majority Labour government. If we were a minority Labour government we would draft a Queen’s Speech and it would then be up to the SNP whether they voted for that progressive, transformative Queen’s Speech or not. If they did not vote for it they would have to answer to the people of Scotland why they did not vote for it.”

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Ahead of his speech to party delegates, the Scottish Labour leader seemed to get in a muddle over devolution. Leonard initially pledged that a UK Labour government will build 120,000 council and social rent homes in Scotland over the next 10 years.

But while a UK Labour government could supply the money for the houses, it cannot ringfence how the Scottish Government spends that money.

Leonard was forced to later put out another press release calling on Nicola Sturgeon to commit to building 120,000 new council and social homes.

In his speech, he said Scotland would have “the power to decide if Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn is prime minister”.

He added: “And for the avoidance of doubt the only way to get a Labour government is to elect Labour MPs from Scotland. There is no short cut to a Labour Government through the SNP.”

Scottish Labour won seven seats at the last election, up from the one they took in 2015. They performed poorly at the European elections, taking less than 10% of the vote in Scotland.

The party launched their campaign in Glasgow North, one of their key targets, a constituency currently held by the SNP’s Patrick Grady.

Responding to the speech, Grady said: “Only a vote for the SNP is a vote to escape Brexit and to put Scotland’s future in our own hands”.