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Scottish Labour reiterates opposition to second independence referendum

The party will instead campaign for home rule, devolution and a ‘progressive federal structure’ within the UK in next year’s Holyrood election.

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Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said the party is opposed to a second independence referendum (Jane Barlow/PA)

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said the party is opposed to a second independence referendum (Jane Barlow/PA)

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said the party is opposed to a second independence referendum (Jane Barlow/PA)

Scottish Labour will go into next year’s Holyrood election opposed to a second independence referendum, its leader Richard Leonard has confirmed.

Following a meeting of the party’s Scottish Executive Committee, Mr Leonard said the committee has agreed to campaign for a programme of home rule, devolution and democratic advance within the UK.

The committee said the party is opposed to independence and is committed to Scotland remaining in the union, with a plan for further devolution for the whole of the UK and a renewed partnership between all its nations based on a “progressive federal structure”.

If the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us anything it is that people do not want to be dividedRichard Leonard

It said following Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic, the last thing Scotland needs is “more constitutional turmoil and economic instability”.

Mr Leonard said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the terms of the constitutional debate in Scotland.

“We believe that the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections must be about electing a Government and a Parliament that will dedicate its entire focus to rebuilding Scotland’s economy, public services and communities after the devastating impact of Covid-19.

“That work must be the focus of the next Scottish Government and so we will be going into that election in 2021 with a Scottish Labour Party position that is opposed to a second referendum.”

He added: “If the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us anything it is that people do not want to be divided.

“Communities want and need to come together.

“We thrive when we are working towards the common good.”

SNP depute leader Keith Brown said: “In the same weekend that yet another poll confirms a growing and majority support for independence, the Labour party have decided to alienate themselves even further from the people of Scotland.

“The party’s top brass aren’t just out of touch with the electorate, though, they are blatantly ignoring their own members and politicians who have publicly backed Scotland’s right to choose a better future.

“No wonder support for the Labour party has totally collapsed in Scotland and they have lost the trust of voters.”

PA