LABOUR’S leader in Scotland Richard Leonard has performed an extraordinary volte-face on his party’s Brexit stance, prompting SNP depute leader Keith Brown to brand the move as “desperate”.

In a statement distributed yesterday, Leonard said that he was “pleased that Scottish Labour’s Executive Committee has endorsed my call for the party to back a confirmatory vote on any Brexit deal with Remain as an option on the ballot paper”.

He supported a second EU referendum just hours after Labour leader Corbyn expressly ruled out such support.

Leonard pledged that Scottish Labour would “wholeheartedly campaign for a Remain victory in such a vote,” before making the assertion that only “Scottish Labour is building a radical platform for investment in people and communities, our industries and our public services”.

Labour MP Ian Murray said the news was a “welcome decision”.

Murray went on to “applaud Richard Leonard for listening to voters and acting so swiftly to change party policy”.

He added that the party had to ensure that the pledge translated to activism.

“These words must now be turned into action and we must get out there and campaign vociferously for a final say on Brexit and for the UK to remain in the EU,” Murray said.

Leonard’s announcement came a day after Corbyn insisted that his party “is not at the stage yet” of calling for a “People’s Vote”, despite a sense of ever-increasing pressure from Labour members and activists.

Speaking to the Guardian, Mike Buckley, from the campaign group Labour for a Public Vote, reflected on the party’s lethargy on Brexit.

“Hundreds of [Constituency Labour Parties] CLPs are already set to debate motions for conference calling for the party to back a new referendum, and to campaign for Remain.

“We’re confident of winning in September – but would much prefer the party to shift now.

“If we don’t, we’ll lose more voters over the summer and we won’t be able to oppose no deal as effectively.”

Speaking at the Peterborough by-election, in which Labour saw off the Brexit Party by only a few hundred votes, Corbyn said that “every party discusses its own position and its own strategy”.

He added: “I have said all along that we would put to Parliament our proposals on a customs union on a trade relationship and the dynamic protection of consumer and workers’ rights.”

“As our conference resolution agreed last September, we would then be prepared to put that to a public vote. We are not at the stage yet where Parliament has actually voted on that. I think it would be much better if there was actually a General Election.”

SNP depute leader Brown was quick to question Leonard’s policy shift, which leaves him at odds with Corbyn and following the lead of the SNP.

“This is a desperate U-turn by the Scottish Labour party after it received its lowest ever share of the vote in the recent European elections, and grossly hypocritical,” he said.

“Scotland did not vote for Brexit yet Labour have been sitting on the fence over this for three years.

“It is clear that Labour’s prevaricating has had a disastrous impact on the party and this long overdue decision will not change that.

“The Scottish people were told if they voted No in 2014 Scotland would retain its EU membership and this proved to be a lie – it is time Labour also backed a second referendum on Scottish independence to give the people of Scotland a way out of this mess.”