Ian Murray blasts John McDonnell over 'disrespectful' Indyref2 comments as he launches deputy leadership bid

Posted On: 
16th January 2020

Ian Murray has launched an outspoken attack on John McDonnell for changing Labour's policy on Scottish independence during an appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Ian Murray vowed to tour the country to meet voters "let down" by the party
Credit: 
PA

The Shadow Chanchellor triggered confusion amongst Labour MPs last August when he said his party would not stand in the way of a second independence referendum if they won the general election.

The comments led to a series of u-turns on the policy, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn eventually suggesting the party could allow a second poll on independence sometime after the 2021 Holyrood elections.

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But speaking at the launch of his deputy leadership bid, Mr Murray, the party's sole Scottish MP, accused Mr McDonnell of "disrespecting" Labour members by unilaterally ripping up the party's policy.

"Let's never again have a senior member of the Labour Party coming to a fringe show at the Edinburgh Festival and changing our constitutional position on Scotland without telling anyone about it," he said.

"That is not just disrespectful to the Labour Party, it is not just disrespectful to the Scottish Labour Party, its disrespectful to every single person who looks to the Labour Party for holding this UK together, and standing up for the key principle that independence for Scotland is bad for Scotland, and independence for Scotland is bad for the rest of the United Kingdom."

The Edinburgh South MP pledged to tour the country during his campaign to listen to voters "left behind" by the party following their historic election defeat.

"The Labour Party let down the voters of Britain last year. That can't happen again," he said.

"We must reach out and listen to every corner of this country and every type of person in our country.

"Our party can only win by winning support across the whole of Great Britain, and by becoming a broad church once again."

He added: "The Labour Party must care about every single region and nation of this United Kingdom, and I will take responsibility for the party's approach to how the UK should be governed in a post-Brexit Britain - so that no city, town or community is left behind."

Meanwhile, Mr Murray, who has been a vocal critic of the party's handling of anti-semitism complaints, said he would demand every outstanding case be put on his desk on "Monday morning" if elected deputy.

"I'm embarrassed about the cancer of anti-semitism in our party," he said.

"As deputy leader I will ensure a zero-tolerance approach to bullying, harassment and antisemitism.

"I will take personal responsibility for the grievance and complaints process, and I will be held responsbile for enforcing that zero-tolerance approach."

He added: "Never again do I want any Jewish person to feel that they do not have a home in the Labour Party, that they can't trust us to do the right thing, or that they feel our party would make the country a more dangerous place for them."