Labour not ruling out another Scottish independence vote
Britain’s opposition Labour party does not rule out allowing another Scottish independence referendum should it be voted into power, its finance spokesman said yesterday, although he saw the issue as a distraction given Britain’s current problems. John McDonnell said a British Labour government would consider whether to grant permission for a Scottish referendum if backed by the devolved parliament should the case arise, even though it opposes Scotland splitting from the United Kingdom. Scotland was long a Labour heartland but since 2015 it has been dominated by the pro-independence Scottish National Party, which has won over old Labour supporters. To win national power in Britain, Labour would likely have to win swathes of left-leaning Scotland. In a 2014 referendum, Scots voted 55-45% against splitting from the United Kingdom. Nationalism has dominated Scottish politics since and support for independence is currently at around 45%. Last year, Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May refused to allow a new independence vote despite the devolved Scottish parliament voting for one, arguing “now is not the time.” Britain’s national parliament is currently deeply divided over what shape the nation’s exit from the European Union should take, the biggest political change in at least four decades. Kicking off a tour of Scotland, McDonnell said everything beyond Brexit and poverty was a side-show.