Monday, 13 January 2020 07:08



Former Scottish Labour Deputy Leader Alex Rowley MSP has warned his party against siding with the Tories on independence - amid growing calls for the party to back a fresh referendum.

Today, the Labour stalwart said: “I have to say 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 - with leadership contenders, former cabinet ministers, MSPs, MPs, Councillors and trade unions leaders among those backing a fresh referendum.

This week leadership contender and Shadow Financial 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 said “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 current President of COSLA and Leader of the Labour group on Aberdeenshire Council, Alison Evison, all voiced support for Scotland's right to hold an independence referendum.

Commenting, SNP Depute Leader Keith Brown MSP said:

“There is now an unstoppable momentum behind a fresh independence referendum. 

“As Scotland faces being dragged out of the EU against our will, 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 extreme Tory Brexiteers at Westminster.

“The SNP won a landslide victory at the general election - winning 80% of seats 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 figures and members across the Labour Party are getting behind a fresh referendum with many backing independence. This is a crunch moment for Scottish Labour - instead of siding with the Tories again, and sliding further into irrelevance - they can back a referendum and help Scotland escape Brexit and another decade of Tory rule.

 “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.”


Alex Rowley MSP’s tweet:

Labour MP Ben Bradshaw says it is '100% certain' that Scotland will become independent -

Clive Lewis says Labour must not oppose Indyref 2 -

Ben Bradshaw MP’s comments:
“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. 
"The Scots expressed in the 2016 EU referendum and the two subsequent general elections that they do not want to leave the EU. 
"It is important to understand that the UK is based on the consent of all parts of the country.
“The political class in England - and this includes my own party - must very quickly recognize the Scots' right to self-determination. 
“I am married to a Scotsman. All members of our family in Scotland voted against independence in the 2014 referendum. 
“But at the last general election in December, all of them voted for the Scottish National Party for the first time in their lives. And they would now vote for Scotland's independence differently than in 2014. 
“Scotland will become independent. For me that is 100% certain.”

Clive Lewis MP's comments: 

“It is little surprise ... that many Scots see themselves not as partners in a union of equal nations, but as a country shackled instead to a dysfunctional political system that is costing them dearly."

“Given the option to exit the UK, it is little wonder that so many now support independence and given the prospect of at least five years of Tory rule imposing a Brexit that Scotland did not vote for, the question of independence and a second referendum is unavoidable.

“In the words of the 1989 Scottish Constitutional Convention, supported by Labour MPs, I believe ‘in the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of government best suited to their needs.’

“It is not for me, as an English MP for an English constituency, to dictate to Scotland what that form of government should be, and there should be no question of Labour opposing a second independence referendum if there is a mandate to hold one.”  

Neil Findlay MSP: “We cannot deny the people of Scotland a second referendum where the majority is calling for it.”

Monica Lennon MSP: “If Boris Johnson isn’t prepared to grant this request” for a section 30 order “he should allow the Scottish Parliament to decide.”

Alison Evison, President of COSLA and Leader of the Labour group on Aberdeenshire Council:  “it’s straight-forward to me: democracy must be at the core of all we do ... that must mean a referendum on independence."

Former Labour minister Malcolm Chisholm: “Hope many of those against or undecided (me included) about independence will get behind incontrovertible democratic demand for IndyRef2.”

Former MP Ged Killen: “Agreed. I campaigned on a promise to vote against indyref2, but I lost. The SNP made massive gains on a promise to hold another referendum and, as democrats, we must accept it even if we don't like it.”

Former MP Paul Sweeney: unless the UK government “recognise the body politic at large in Scotland is not willing to accept the current status quo… the United Kingdom is unsustainable.”

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