IT was the demand to fight the Tories and not each other which prompted the Labour faithful to give Jeremy Corbyn a standing ovation at the close of his address to the Scottish Labour conference last night.

Coming after years of infighting over the party’s stance on Brexit, a prolonged row over complaints of anti-Semitism and the departure of eight MPs to form a new Independent Group, morale among party members is low. The UK leader needed to deliver an upbeat message.

And he did in parts, warning the party could defeat the Conservatives and seize power but only if could settle its differences. Without doing so, he suggested, it would remain in opposition.

“The only thing that can hold us back is if we were to turn our fire on each other rather than on the Tory Government and the wealthy establishment they represent,” he told several hundred delegates and members in the Caird Hall in Dundee.

To loud applause, he added: “With the Conservatives in disarray, now is the time to come together and defeat them.”

They were the words the party’s grassroots wanted to hear. And there was applause too when Corbyn spoke of the need to fight homelessness, growing inequality and the rise in the number of people using foodbanks.

He picked up on green issues with fresh pledges to address air pollution and climate change, saying the environment is “a socialist issue too”. This section of his speech was no doubt an attempt to appeal to prospective Green voters amid concerns Patrick Harvie’s party could end up attracting younger voters who helped fuel Corbyn’s rise.

But Corbyn’s speech had to address the thorny constitutional issues too for the party. Independence just got a tiny mention suggesting it was simply an SNP obsession. There was more time devoted to Brexit but it was hardly the most convincing part of the speech. Despite the UK’s EU withdrawal looming in 21 days, there was not a huge amount of time devoted to it.

There was only subdued applause when he underlined a commitment to a “Labour jobs first Brexit” which many in his party – including the Edinburgh MP Ian Murray – believe is a contradiction in terms.

And he then went on to explain that the party would continue to push for a General Election if the Labour Brexit plan failed, before pushing for a second EU referendum.

It seemed a shift away from the position he took last week when he appeared to give stronger backing to a People’s Vote and will likely disappoint many people, particularly north of the Border where 62% of voters backed remaining in the EU.