Shadow chancellor John McDonnell caused a political rammy in his own party last night when he declared a future Labour government would not block IndyRef2.
McDonnell told an Edinburgh audience a decision on holding another vote would be up to the “Scottish Parliament and the Scottish people”.
His comments, made to journalist Iain Dale, contradicted Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard’s position and were dubbed “utterly irresponsible” by one prominent MP.
Leonard told BBC’s Sunday Politics in March a Labour government would refuse to grant a “Section 30 order” giving Holyrood the power to hold another vote.
Leonard added at the time: “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.”
But when probed on the issue at a Fringe event last night, McDonnell said: “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
“They will take a view about whether they want another referendum. Nicola Sturgeon said by late next year or the beginning of 2021.”
He added: “We would not block something like that. We would let the Scottish people decide. That’s democracy.
“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 intervention will delight the SNP who were bouyed this week by a poll showing the majority of Scots now back independence .
But his comments went down badly with Ian Murray, the Edinburgh South MP who has been a strong critic of the direction his own party has taken under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn .
Murray said: “These are utterly irresponsible comments from John McDonnell that betray our party’s values.
“The Labour Party is an internationalist party founded on a vision of solidarity and we should never seek to appease nationalists – whether they be for Brexit or Scottish independence – who want to divide communities and people.
“John McDonnell has even bought into the nationalist narrative that Westminster is an ‘English Parliament’, in an insult to the hard work carried out by Scottish MPs from every party.
“We were promised by the SNP that the 2014 referendum was once-in-a-generation, and we have a duty to hold the Nationalists to their promise by firmly opposing a divisive second independence referendum.
“But one of the architects of the Corbyn project that is destroying the Labour Party now appears willing to destroy our United Kingdom with thoughtless rants at the Festival.”