Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn warned that only continued EU membership would keep investment flowing into the struggling North Sea oil and gas sector on a visit to Aberdeen on Saturday.
But the Islington North MP also said he was “disappointed” to discover that research carried out recently by Aberdeen University had revealed 92% of British fishermen were backing Brexit.
Mr Corbyn, joined by Labour’s last remaining Scottish MP – Edinburgh South’s Ian Murray – ate at the city’s Café 52 before campaigning for Remain in St Nicholas Square and finally visiting the Cove gala.
North-east MSP Lewis Macdonald welcomed the 67-year-old socialist to the gathering of party activists and elected officials at The Green eatery.
Mr Corbyn said: “A lot of Scottish manufacturing jobs are reliant on Europe, there is a huge oil industry and related high tech jobs that go with it which also trade a great deal with Europe.
“Clearly, (the oil industry is) having a problem at the moment with the collapse in oil prices.
“I don’t think the European Union is perfect – nobody does.
“Structural investment is going to be necessary to deal with much of this, and that is possible in a European context. Without being in Europe, there won’t be any of that investment available.
“But there is also the principle of dealing with trade across other countries. If you want a system of environmental protection, then whether land, air or marine, it has to be done across national frontiers.”
Speaking on the fishing industry’s strained relationship with Brussels, he added: “To leave the European Union won’t solve the problems of the fishing industry.
“What will solve the problems of the fishing industry in the long term is an intelligent process of conservation and regeneration and protection of our oceans from pollution and discharges.”
SNP leader and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has repeatedly warned a vote to leave the European Union on June 23 could trigger another vote on Scotland’s future.
While the opposition leader accepted “the SNP would want to promote another referendum” in such a scenario, Mr Corbyn stressed: “I think we should not get into that debate at the present time, the important thing is to decide how you are going to vote on June 23.”
He added: “I hope people will vote for what they want on June 23, and decide whether they wish to be part of the European Union or not on the basis of solidarity with people across the continent.”