SCOTTISH Labour announced today that they would be campaigning for “home rule, devolution, and democratic advance” at the next Holyrood election, after a meeting of the party executive.
However, they will remain “opposed to a second independence referendum”, according to a message sent out to Scottish Labour members by the party leader, Richard Leonard.
As former Labour first minister Henry McLeish wrote in The National late last year, standing for “democratic advance” but against indyref2 appears to be a contradiction in terms.
“You cannot continue to fight democracy. Because if you oppose indyref2 you are opposing democracy,” McLeish said.
READ MORE: Henry McLeish: opposing indyref2 is opposing democracy
Leonard’s statement goes on to say: “If the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us anything it’s that people do not want to be divided.” He adds that his party will continue to oppose “the SNP’s programme for deep cuts in a separate Scotland.”
However, as The National reported today, the behaviour of Westminster Tories and their top aides during this pandemic has pushed the pro-independence vote to 52%.
Political journalist Paul Hutcheon shared Leonard’s statement on Twitter, adding that he understood “a decision on list selections for Holyrood has been postponed pending further discussion”.
Here is Richard Leonard’s message to members pic.twitter.com/r8eb3mzxhJ
— Paul Hutcheon (@paulhutcheon) June 6, 2020
The Scottish Labour party are rumoured to have been pushed towards a more hard-line stance against indyref2 by their new depute leader, Jackie Baillie, who served on the board of Better Together in 2014.
Commenting on the Labour statement, 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.”