Labour not rul­ing out an­other Scot­tish in­de­pen­dence vote

Gulf Times - - BRITAIN -

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.

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