JEREMY Corbyn refused to green-light indyref2 during the first term of a Labour government term – before reducing that to just the “early years” and blaming reporters for the “confusion”.

In a campaign visit to Scotland, the Labour leader told journalists there would be “no referendum in the first term for a Labour government” – even if the SNP win a majority of Scottish seats in next month’s General Election.

But aides immediately began to row back on that, saying the position could change if Nicola Sturgeon’s party wins control of Holyrood in the 2021 Scottish Parliament election. Hours later, Corbyn said he did “not countenance” another independence referendum in “the early years” of a Labour government.

Denying the flip-flop, he told the media assembled at Tannochside Miners Welfare Club in Uddingston, South Lanarkshire: “I think the confusion is with you, if I may say so, not me.

“We will not countenance an indy referendum in the early years of a Labour government because our priorities will be elsewhere.”

Pressed further on the impact of an SNP victory in 2021, Corbyn replied: “I’m not in favour of it at all because I think the priorities for Scotland are ending inequality, poverty and injustice across Scotland and independence will bring with it an economic problem for Scotland.”

While Labour is trying to focus its campaign on domestic policy issues and spending pledges, the SNP has made their demand for indyref2 a central part of their push for votes.

Polls have suggested Sturgeon’s party will see their vote share rise on December 12, which is not predicted to be a good night for Corbyn.

The National:

YouGov has suggested the SNP could win as many as 51 of Scotland’s 59 seats, taking them close to their record 2015 result of 56.

Meanwhile, Labour could see their 2017 gains wiped out and return just one Scottish candidate – Ian Murray – to Westminster.

However, there are still four weeks to go until voting day.

Responding to Corbyn’s remarks, SNP Westminster social justice spokesman Neil Gray, who is seeking re-election in Airdrie and Shotts, said: “With the once-dominant Scottish Labour Party now at the point of extinction and Labour voters turning to the SNP, Jeremy Corbyn is in absolutely no position to tell the people of Scotland if and when they can have a say over their own future.

“As we have made crystal clear, no-one looking for support from the SNP after this election should bother to even pick up the phone unless they are prepared to accept the democratically expressed will of Scotland.”

But in Glasgow, Corbyn told supporters at the Heart of Scotstoun community centre that voters face a choice between him and Tory rival Boris Johnson, saying: “Nobody else can form a government.”

On the prospect of post-election co-operation with the SNP, he added: “We are not fighting this election to form a coalition with anybody and we have no intention of forming a coalition with anyone. We are not doing deals, we are not doing pacts.”

Slamming the Tories for their record in government, he also said former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith had pledged to eradicate poverty then “passed an austerity budget which slashed benefit payments, which froze wages in the public sector and slashed funding to local authorities in England and to the devolved administrations” and “did brutal things to the poorest and most vulnerable people in this country”.