Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has branded claims Jeremy Corbyn supports the calling of a second independence referendum “fake news”.

In an election debate on Sky News on Tuesday, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford claimed the UK Labour leader would allow a referendum if it was the price of taking power.

The Scottish Labour leader shot back, branding the claims “rubbish”.

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Labour has been accused of a lack of clarity over its position on a second independence poll, with Mr Corbyn claiming he would not support a referendum in the “early years of a Labour Government” at his party’s recent manifesto launch.

Mr Blackford said he thought the Labour leader would allow another vote, describing him as a “democrat at heart”.

He said: “Jeremy is not hostile to Scottish independence, he’s a democrat at heart, I truly believe that.”

Mr Leonard, interrupting the SNP candidate, said: “That’s plainly rubbish. I’m sorry to say, but this is a complete fake news story that you are inventing.

“Jeremy Corbyn is opposed to the creation of a separate Scottish state. Jeremy Corbyn does not support the calling of a second independence referendum.”

Mr Blackford said denial of another vote would be “ignoring the votes of Scots”.

Tory MSP Jamie Greene, who was also on the panel, said the two leaders were engaging in “neverendum talk”.

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He added: “People are sick of it.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie agreed with Mr Greene, accusing the SNP of putting independence ahead of stopping Brexit.

He said: “That’s what the SNP has always been about. You were late to the party, you were late to the campaign to stop Brexit.”