A future Labour government would not block a second Scottish independence referendum, shadow chancellor John McDonnell has said.
“We would let the Scottish people decide. That’s democracy.”
In an interview with journalist Iain Dale at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, McDonnell said any decision about holding a vote would be up to the Scottish parliament.
It will be for the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish people to decide that.
We would not block something like that. We would let the Scottish people decide. That’s democracy.
They will take a view about whether they want another referendum. Nicola Sturgeon said by late next year or the beginning of 2021.
There are other views within the party but that’s our view.
The Scottish Parliament will come to a considered view on that and they will submit that to the Government and the English Parliament itself.
If the Scottish people decide they want a referendum that’s for them.
McDonnell’s view contradicts that of Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard.
In an interview on the BBC’s Sunday Politics Scotland in March, Leonard said if Labour took power in Westminster the party would refuse to grant a “Section 30 order” giving Holyrood the power to hold another vote.
Leonard added: “What we said in the manifesto at the 2017 election was that there is no case for, and we would not support, a second independence referendum.”
If smaller opposition parties demanded Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s resignation in order to form a coalition of national unity, McDonnell said Corbyn would refuse:
It won’t happen. I think we’d form a minority government, seek to implement our manifesto and we’d expect the other opposition parties and other MPs to vote for those policies and if they don’t we’ll go back to the country.
If they want to vote against a real living wage, if they want to vote against £70 billion worth of investment in Scottish infrastructure, if they want to vote against a green industrial revolution to tackle climate change then so be it, we’ll go back to the people and then let them explain to the people why they wouldn’t support those policies.
Later, the shadow chancellor ruled out standing to be Labour leader in the future and said he would like a woman MP to succeed Mr Corbyn.
He described MPs including Rebecca Long-Bailey, Dawn Butler, Emily Thornberry and Laura Pidcock as “incredibly talented” prospective leaders.
“They are committed to transforming the world, they are not career politicians,” he said.
He also admitted he was “extremely worried” about new prime minister Boris Johnson, saying:
I think he’s reckless and I think he’s unstable and I will move heaven and Earth to stop a no-deal Brexit.
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