SCOTTISH Labour has reaffirmed its opposition to a second independence referendum, but stopped short of calling for Westminster to vote to block one.
The party issued a statement clarifying its stance after Jeremy Corbyn said it was “absolutely fine” for another vote to be held.
On a visit to Glasgow on Saturday for the party’s economic conference, the UK party leader said: “If a referendum is held then it is absolutely fine, it should be held. I don’t think it’s the job of Westminster or the Labour Party to prevent people holding referenda.’’ But after howls of protests from Scottish Labour figures, including the party’s sole MP Ian Murray, a statement was sent out to say the party opposed a second referendum.
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In an interview at the same event with BBC Scotland’s Sunday Politics Scotland programme, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said MPs would need to see “the nature” of any request for a second referendum before making a decision.
Yesterday, a Scottish Labour spokesman said: “Scottish Labour is firmly opposed to a second referendum. Our country is divided enough and we will vote against any SNP plans for another divisive referendum.
“As figures from across the political spectrum have said, including Ruth Davidson, Westminster should not block it if the people of Scotland want another referendum.
“But it’s quite clear that the people of Scotland don’t want another referendum. Nicola Sturgeon should immediately take the threat off the table.”
The First Minister has said another vote on independence is “highly likely” following the Brexit vote, in which Scotland voted to remain in the EU, and has made it clear she intends to push ahead with a second plebiscite if proposals allowing Scotland to remain in the single market are not taken into account in the Brexit process.
The First Minister insists she has a “cast-iron mandate” and could seek the backing of Holyrood within the coming weeks to ask Westminster for the legal power to stage the vote.
A recent poll showed 50 per cent of Scots now back the country becoming independent.
The SNP MSP Stuart McMillan said: “The deep internal divisions of the Labour Party are reaching a point of no return.”