LABOUR in Scotland have rejected staying in the single market, with party conference delegates overwhelmingly backing Richard Leonard’s call to support Jeremy Corbyn.

Had members knocked back the “unity” statement put forward by the Scottish Executive Committee (SEC), a vote would have been held on supporting single market membership.

Divisions over Brexit overshadowed Labour’s conference, in Dundee with former Scottish leader Kezia Dugdale, MP Ian Murray, several constituency Labour parties, and more than 40 other senior Labour members pushing for a vote.

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But in the end, it wasn’t even close, with only a handful of the delegates who made it to the conference hall first thing yesterday morning voting against party bosses. Labour’s chairwoman in Scotland, Linda Stewart ,said there was a “clear majority” in favour of backing Corbyn’s position.

“I’m very pleased we can now move forward with a clear position on Brexit,” she added.

Speaking during the debate, MEP Catherine Stihler, who backed the single market position said: “Brexit is the defining issue of our time.

“Leaving the European Union will cost us jobs, reduce our global influence and even poses to threaten the integrity of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.”

She insisted there was “no good Brexit”, adding that it would not be possible for the UK to “cherry pick our way to a post-EU future with the same benefits we currently enjoy”.

Stihler added: “Leaving the European Union has severe consequences but there are choices and we as a Labour Party and movement have to keep all options open.

“That’s why I firmly believe remaining part of the single market and customs union is the only way we can mitigate the worst aspects of leaving the European Union for working people.”

Donald MacKinnon, of the party’s Western Isles branch, argued a motion backing single market membership should have gone to a vote.

“The SEC shouldn’t have interfered with the democratic process of conference,” he said.

He told fellow activists: “It is clear Theresa May and her Tory Government are intent on driving forward a hard-right Brexit that would leave us outside the customs union and the single market.

“It is our duty as party to stand up and oppose this race-to-the-bottom Brexit that the Tories are so keen on delivering.

“The way to achieve this is to remain in the single market and the customs union permanently.”

But Rhea Wolfson called on members to rally around the SEC statement.

She added: “Our priorities must be realistic and based on protecting people. We all stand to lose if Labour are sucked into posturing and division.”

Former MSP Cara Hilton, speaking on behalf of the SEC, said the statement “sends out a strong bold message that on Brexit there is now clear red water between our party and the Tories”.

She added: “We as a party must respect the result of the referendum. So our task now is to secure the best possible deal for the people of Scotland.”

Scottish Labour’s Brexit spokesman Neil Findlay was clear to supporters of staying in the single market that “the reality is you can’t be a full member of the single market without being a member of the EU”.

While Norway is in the single market but not the EU, he said this position left the country duty bound to adopt EU rules on a range of areas without having any influence on them. Findlay said: “Being outside the EU and inside the single market means you are a rule taker but not a rule maker, and that is not in our national interests. .”

The debate came before a speech in which John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, pledged £70 billion in extra spending for Scotland if Labour were in power at Westminster. McDonnell said a Labour government would give £30bn in Barnett consequentials, £20bn in capital investment for Scotland from Labour’s National Transformation Fund and £20bn in capital from Labour’s UK National Investment Bank proposals for a Scottish Investment Bank.

He told the party faithful: “Our UK policy commitments to additional spending on public services in areas such as education, social care, and childcare, would mean an additional £3bn of Barnett consequentials in 2022 for the Scottish Government.

“We also pledged an additional £250bn of investment spending over 10 years across the UK through our National Transformation Fund.

“This would support rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, delivering key investment such as extending HS2 to Scotland, and investing in the industries of the future by boosting research and development.

“Again, through the settlement on devolved funding, that would mean £10nof additional investment in Scotland over 10 years.

“And that’s not all. Our UK National Investment Bank will be capitalised and built up to deliver another £250bn of lending over 10 years – investing in small and medium-sized business … environmentally transformative projects … supporting industrial strategy and rebalancing Britain’s economy away from London and the south-east.

“This could mean an additional £20bn for the Scottish economy over 10 years. Compare that with the measly £340m of initial capital budgeted by the SNP for their so-called Scottish Investment Bank.”

An SNP spokeswoman said McDonnell couldn’t be “trusted on anything he says when it comes to Scotland”.

She said: “The shadow chancellor has said a Labour government would scrap the bedroom tax and restore housing benefit – both of which are already being mitigated by the Scottish Government – and that Labour would review Universal Credit, which the SNP Scottish Government is already doing.

“It’s Labour’s failure to commit to membership of the single market when the UK leaves the EU that is the biggest threat to the Scottish economy, leaving the SNP to be the real opposition to the Tories’ hard Brexit plans.”