Scottish Labour MSPs have raised “serious concerns” over the apparent shift in national party policy on a second independence referendum.
The intervention follows John McDonnell’s comments at the Edinburgh Festival this week, which saw the Shadow Chancellor claim that Labour would not block another public vote if a majority of MSPs voted in favour of one.
The remarks defied the previously stated view of Richard Leonard, Labour’s Scottish leader, who has said that a Labour government would refuse to grant the order under Section 30 of the Scotland Act 1998 allowing a fresh independence referendum to be held.
The Scottish Parliamentary Labour Party (SPLP) have released a joint statement this afternoon expressing disapproval of McDonnell’s comments. It reads: “We deplore any attempts to undermine the official policy position of the Scottish Labour Party and we express serious concerns about an apparent change in Labour’s position on a matter of vital importance to the future of Scotland and of the Scottish Labour Party itself.”
The statement, which does not include a list of signatories, was organised by the Scottish parliamentary party chair Jackie Baillie and approved by a majority of SPLP members. LabourList understands that that although it explicitly conveys “support” for “the stance taken by Richard Leonard as our leader”, it was not sanctioned by the Scottish Labour leader’s office.