Published: Fri, August 09, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Scottish Labour rightwingers sought to sow division with unauthorised statement from MSPs

Scottish Labour rightwingers sought to sow division with unauthorised statement from MSPs

THE SNP has urged embattled Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard to "get on the right side of democracy" and support Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell's position that a future Labour government would not block a second referendum on Scottish independence with backing from Holyrood.

Labour's 2017 manifesto stated: "Labour opposes a second Scottish independence referendum".

However Mr McDonnell today said he would not be "set up" by Nicola Sturgeon into arguing the United Kingdom government would stand in the way of another referendum.

Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme that Mr McDonnell's comments had clearly not been a slip of the tongue.

They will take a view about whether they want another referendum.

"I think if we'd had another week of campaigning, we'd be in government now but nevertheless we drew level with the Tories".

Another source said Mr Leonard's internal opponents were acting as "wolves in sheep's clothing" and were "attempting to stoke division".

He said: "In manifestos there's always different views and we have a democratic process to decide it, and in my view as we go forward in our discussions my view is we should argue against a referendum and concentrate on getting a Labour government elected, and we shouldn't be set up by Nicola Sturgeon on this issue".

He added: "We would not block something like that".

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"He said that it should be for the Scottish Parliament to decide the timing of an independence referendum and it should be for the Scottish people to decide if Scotland becomes independent or not".

"But if they ever do come back, my view is you can't be in a situation where you block it".

While Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard attempted to quell the row sparked by the Shadow Chancellor yesterday, saying a second referendum was "unwanted and unnecessary", Mr McDonnell repeated his view that he would not use "parliamentary devices" to prevent a vote.

Labour's Scottish leader, Jeremy Corbyn ally Richard Leonard, avowed earlier this year that the national party in government would refuse to grant the order under Section 30 of the Scotland Act 1998 that would allow another public vote to be held. Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson (inset) pointed out that a "once in a generation" referendum had been held in 2014, and the separatists lost.

He said he had told Mr McDonnell that Indyref2 was unwanted, unnecessary, and that the two men agreed that independence would lead to "turbo-charged austerity".

Dundee East MP, Stewart Hosie said: "This is just yet more proof that Richard Leonard is woefully out-of-touch with the people he claims to represent".

He said: "These are utterly irresponsible comments from John McDonnell that betray our party's values".

His remarks elicited outrage from many unionist figures within the Labour Party and beyond, and follow this week's release of a Lord Ashcroft opinion poll showing majority support for independence amongst Scottish voters.

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