The split at the top of the Scottish Labour party appears to be widening after Kezia Dugdale’s deputy signalled his backing for SNP claims of a mandate for a second indyref.
According to the Scottish Sun, Alex Rowley has said he would not vote against another independence referendum if it is put before the Scottish Parliament.
According to the newspaper, Scottish Labour’s deputy said:
“I have lost count of the number of people that have asked whether I support a second referendum on independence.
“My response is that I would not oppose such a referendum.
“I accept the SNP were clear in their manifesto that the Scottish Parliament would have the right to hold another one if there was a ‘significant and material change’ in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014 – such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will.”
Rowley’s comments are at odds with those of his Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale who has refused to accept the forced removal of Scotland from the EU as justification for indyref2.
Speaking the day after the Brexit vote, Dugdale said: “Now is the time for calm heads. Labour’s manifesto ruled out a second referendum in the lifetime of this Parliament – we won’t be changing our minds any time soon.”
The split over indyref2 comes in the wake of damaging divisions at the top of Scottish Labour following the attempted coup against UK leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Whilst Rowley has publicly denounced the plotters, which include his Scottish Labour colleague Ian Murray, Dugdale has given the plotters her full backing. Rowley, who has himself been attacked by other Scottish Labour figures, has been joined by at least two other Labour MSPs.