JEREMY Corbyn has admitted Labour has “a lot of campaigning to do” before it can win back support north of the border.

The UK party leader insisted Scotland desperately needs a Labour government to unlock the potential of devolution and combat inequality.

But he conceded the party has “a lot of support to get” if it is to wrestle back control in its former heartlands – many of which fell to the SNP in 2015.

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It comes after Mr Corbyn condemned racist and homophobic comments by a Scottish Labour MP, but refused to act on calls to suspend him.

Hugh Gaffney faced pressure to quit after it emerged he had referred to a “c****y” takeaway meal and joked about Robert Burns not being “bent” during a Burns Supper.

Mr Corbyn said: "Our membership has grown, our activities have grown and we're doing very well in by-elections all over Scotland.

"Yes, we have a lot of campaigning to do and yes, we have a lot of support to get, but fundamentally if this country doesn't turn the corner and abandon austerity and start investing in jobs, infrastructure and people then what is the future going to be?

"We can't go on with these levels of inequality all across the UK, and a UK Labour government will change things."

Mr Corbyn was speaking as he visited a community centre in Kilwinning, North Ayrshire, following a rally in Midlothian the previous evening where he predicted the "collapse" of the Conservatives and the rise of a Labour UK government.

He said he was happy to be working with Scottish leader Richard Leonard, who joined him on the campaign trail.

He added: "I've known Richard for a very long time, he's very well prepared to be the leader and very understanding of the economic issues facing Scotland.”

Mr Leonard said his party would end cuts to councils, increase NHS funding and add £5 a week to child benefit.

He said: "I campaigned for a Scottish Parliament 20 years ago with the hope it would allow us to deliver radical change.

"Instead, the past decade has been marked by a nationalist government passing Tory austerity to Scottish communities, with £1.5 billion worth of cuts since 2011.

"With 260,000 children living in poverty, that is simply shameful."

Labour has come under increasing pressure in recent days to take action against Mr Gaffney, with SNP transport minister Humza Yousaf insisting he should “at the very least” face suspension.

Speaking to reporters outside his Midlothian rally, Mr Corbyn said: “Hugh has apologised for what he said and he has been reprimanded for it."

Insisting Mr Gaffney's comments were "completely wrong", he added: "He is undertaking the appropriate diversity training and, indeed, has met and talked to people in the Chinese community and he is meeting other communities as well."

Shadow Scottish Secretary Lesley Laird told BBC Good Morning Scotland "the matter is now closed", insisting any further details should be "confidential".

She said: “The facts of the matter are known, the matter has been dealt with. And the matter is now closed. I won’t be adding anything further to it.”

Mr Yousaf said her response “typifies the high-handed arrogance with which Labour are trying to sweep racism and homophobia with their own ranks under the carpet”.

He said: “If Hugh Gaffney has already gone through diversity training, then going on another course is a completely unsuitable response to his racist and homophobic comments.”

It comes just weeks after Anas Sarwar MSP – who ran against Mr Leonard for the role of Scottish Labour leader – told of his own experiences with racism within the party.

South Lanarkshire Labour group leader Davie McLachlan was suspended after allegedly telling Mr Sarwar that Scotland wouldn’t vote for a “brown Muslim P**i”. Mr McLachlan denies the claims.