Former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in Scotland, Alex Rowley MSP, has warned his colleagues against siding with the Tories on independence amid growing calls for the party to back a fresh referendum.
Mr Rowley said:
“I don’t get why the Labour Scottish Executive are so reluctant to allow our membership to determine our vision and way forward for Scotland. Too many of them still think Better Together standing alongside the Tories is the best way forward."
The comments follow growing momentum in favour of an independence referendum among senior Labour figures and party members. Leadership contenders, former cabinet ministers, MSPs, MPs, Councillors and trade unions leaders are among those backing a fresh referendum.
Leadership contender and Shadow Finance Secretary to the Treasury Clive Lewis MP said Labour should not seek to block a referendum, and former Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Ben Bradshaw MP added:
“I have no doubt that Scotland will become independent. It is completely unsustainable that the government in London denies the Scots the right to self-determination.”
In December, Labour MSPs Neil Findlay and Monica Lennon, current and former Labour MPs David Lammy, Ged Killen and Paul Sweeney, former Labour Cabinet Secretary Malcolm Chisholm, and the President of COSLA and Leader of the Labour group on Aberdeenshire Council, Councillor Alison Evison, all voiced support for Scotland's right to hold an independence referendum.
Commenting, Patricia Gibson MP said:
“There is now an unstoppable momentum behind a fresh independence referendum.
“As Scotland faces being dragged out of the EU by a Tory government we rejected, people across parties and society believe Scotland must have a choice over our future, instead of having it dictated to us by the Tories at Westminster.
“The SNP won a landslide victory at the general election, winning 48 out of 59 constituencies on a cast-iron mandate to hold an independence referendum. The democratic right of the people of Scotland to choose our future must be respected.
“It is welcome that growing numbers of senior Labour figures are getting behind a fresh referendum, with many backing independence. This is a crunch moment for Labour in Scotland. Rather than siding with the Tories again and sliding further into irrelevance they can back a referendum.
“The SNP will continue to work across parties and society to ensure Scotland has a choice, so we can stay at the heart of Europe and build a fairer future as an equal and independent country.”