Jeremy Corbyn has said he wants an independence referendum “soon” and urged the next Labour government to support it.

The former leader, who was expelled from the party in a row over anti-semitism, said there was a “democratic right to decide your own future”.

The Independent MP for Islington North was speaking on the Edinburgh Fringe at an In Conversation event at the Stand New Town Theatre.

To the deep discomfort of Scottish Labour, Mr Corbyn took various positions on Indyref2 when he was leader of UK Labour from 2015 to 2020. 

Ahead of the 2019 general election in which he took his party to its worst defeat since 1935, he said there would not be a vote on independence in the first term of a government he led.

However he then said there would not be one “in the early years” of a new parliament.

Speaking today, the 74-year-old left winger said he would not have allowed one in his first two years in office. 

He told the audience: “Yes, I do support the principle of having a referendum and I hope that happens soon. 

“I suspect the British Government will try and oppose it – I hope that a Labour majority would also support a referendum.

“I think it’s a democratic right to decide your own future.”

He added later: “My view is that if the people of Scotland want that referendum to defend their future, then they should have that right.

"I don’t think there should be a power of veto by the UK Government or the UK Prime Minister on this.

“I made clear before the 2019 election that if we went into government we would be accepting of the principle that if Scotland wanted a referendum after two years, that would be what we would agree to do - that’s what I said at the time and that’s what I stand by.”

Mr Corbyn also said he had “been treated very badly” by his old party, but pledged to work for his constituents if he returned to the seat he has held since 1983 at the general election.

Labour’s manifesto in the 2019 election said the party believed independence would be “economically devastating and it would be the many not the few who would pay the price”.

It went on: “Scotland needs the transformative investment coming from a Labour government, not another referendum and not independence.

“A UK Labour government will focus on tackling the climate emergency, ending austerity and cuts, and getting Brexit sorted. 

“That’s why in the early years of a UK Labour government we will not agree to a Section 30 order request [for referendum powers] if it comes from the Scottish Government.”

Sir Keir Starmer, who was ruthless in excluding Corbyn from the party, has already refused to entertain the idea of Indyref2.

SNP deputy Westminster leader Mhairi Black said: “The former Labour leader recognises it is wrong to deny Scotland its democratic right to choose its own future – it’s time Sir Keir Starmer woke up to that reality.

“Scotland’s future should be decided by the people who live here, and not by those in the pro-Brexit, pro-austerity Westminster establishment, who we in Scotland have rejected at elections time and again.”

Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer said Mr Corbyn had shown “respect for basic democracy.”

He said: “Jeremy Corbyn is right, the power to determine Scotland’s future must lie with the people of Scotland, not with Westminster elites who don’t give a damn what people here think or how they vote. Corbyn is showing a respect for basic democracy which his successor Keir Starmer seems completely incapable of.

“The Tories are relentlessly attacking Scottish democracy and the powers of Scotland’s elected Parliament, and, sadly, the Labour Party are acting as cheerleaders for this assault.

“At the last election Scotland elected our largest ever majority of pro-independence MSPs. If Anas Sarwar and Keir Starmer have any respect for Scottish democracy they will listen to their former leader and recognise Scotland’s right to choose our own future.”