Former Labour First Minister Henry McLeish has said he supports membership of the European Union over the continuation of the United Kingdom.
In what many will interpret as backing for a Yes vote in the event of a second independence referendum, the senior Scottish Labour figure told BBC Scotland: “I think the result on Thursday night was a game changer and there will be another [independence] referendum.
“I’m a passionate European and I would now back the European Union over continuing membership of the United Kingdom.”
McLeish, who previously voiced support for Devo-Max, is the second senior Labour party figure to signal backing for a Yes vote in the event of a second independence referendum. Mr McLeish’s former colleague at Holyrood, Malcolm Chisholm, has already voiced support for indyref2, claiming that continued EU membership is “impossible” without independence.
Scottish Labour’s position prior to Thursday’s EU referendum was not to back a second independence referendum even if Scotland faced being dragged out of the EU against the nation’s will. However, with 62 per cent of Scottish voters backing remain, pressure is now growing on Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale to reverse her stance amid increased backing for indyref2.
The Herald and The Daily Record newspapers, which both backed a No vote in the first indyref, have each given their backing to Nicola Sturgeon over the issue.
Although the First Minister has given no firm commitment for a second independence referendum, she has already said such a situation is “very likely.” The day after BRexit was confirmed, Ms Sturgeon revealed that Scottish government officials were preparing legislation that would create a pathway for a second independence referendum.
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