Labour ‘would consider’ deal over Indyref 2
THE Shadow Chancellor yesterday admitted Labour would ‘consider’ allowing the SNP to call another independence referendum.
During a visit to Glasgow, John McDonnell also refused to rule out a possible ‘confidence and supply’ deal with Nicola Sturgeon’s party if Labour failed to win an overall majority after the next general election.
The key ally of Jeremy Corbyn was in Scotland only 24 hours after Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard pledged any future manifesto would include a promise to oppose Indyref 2.
Admitting that Mr Corbyn could grant Miss Sturgeon a Section 30 order – to allow the Scottish Government to call a referendum – Mr McDonnell said: ‘Jeremy and I met with Nicola Sturgeon two weeks ago, it was purely about the Brexit issue. We had a discussion where we shared our views on opposing no-deal and secondly opposing Theresa May’s deal as well. That was it, no further.
‘We draft our manifestos democratically. In the last manifesto we said we opposed [independence] full stop, and we want to unite a country that will concentrate on those issues. I can’t Deputy Scottish Political Editor see that policy changing. What we are trying to do is deal with the two crucial issues at the moment – one is Brexit and the other is trying to transform our economy. All the rest is a complete distraction.
‘If it [permission for an independence vote] arises then we will consider it then, but it’s hypothetical at the moment.’
Mr McDonnell said there would be no official coalition between Labour and the SNP if
‘A coalition of chaos’
his party failed to get a majority at Westminster.
Asked about a possible ‘confidence and supply’ deal – similar to that of the Tories and the DUP – he said: ‘When we win the next election we will win a significant majority.
‘If we were in a minority position we would govern as a minority government. We would lay out our manifesto and proposals and it would be for the other parties to support them or not.’ Scottish Tory MP Colin Clark said: ‘This is the same old weak position on the Union from Labour.
‘We all know what Nicola Sturgeon’s price would be to prop up Jeremy Corbyn in Number 10 – but Corbyn’s deputy can’t even confirm that opposition to a second vote will be in the Labour manifesto.
‘It is a recipe for a coalition of chaos – and it shows what little clout Richard Leonard has with the Labour hierarchy.’
Scottish visit: John McDonnell speaking in Glasgow yesterday