Scottish Labour to 'consider all options' amid second independence referendum drive

Posted On: 
25th June 2016

Kezia Dugdale has refused to rule out Scottish Labour supporting independence if a second referendum is called.

Kezia Dugdale in the Scottish Parliament
PA Images

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said yesterday a re-run of the 2014 independence vote was “highly likely” after Scots voted to remain inside the European Union but the UK as a whole supported leaving.

Ms Dugdale met Labour MSPs and local authority leaders today and said afterwards that the party would “consider all options”.

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“This was a needless risk taken by the Conservatives which has taken Scotland out of Europe and now risks its place in the UK,” the Scottish Labour leader said.

“Labour is Scotland’s internationalist party. We believe in the pooling and sharing of resources and sovereignty. We believe in the redistribution of wealth and power, and we believe that by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we ever could alone.

“Those are the values which underpins our support for the European Union and the union of nations across the United Kingdom.

"As a party, we will now go forward driven by those enduring values and apply them to our duty to do the best thing for Scotland and interests of working people within it.

“On that basis, we will consider all options and do so in a democratic fashion in keeping with our party's finest traditions.”

Scots voted 62% to 38% for Remain, but England and Wales tipped the UK-wide figures in favour of Brexit.

The Scottish Cabinet today endorsed Ms Sturgeon’s call for preparations to begin on legislation for an independence referendum.

Speaking afterwards, the First Minister also said she would seek “immediate discussions” with Brussels institutions about how to keep Scotland in the EU.

In the referendum two years ago, Labour campaigned against independence as the No side won by 55% to 45%.

The party has suffered in the polls since then, losing all but one MP in the 2015 general election and falling behind the Conservatives in the recent Holyrood vote.

Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader, reiterated her opposition to Scottish independence in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum.

“The 1.6 million votes cast in this referendum in favour of remain, do not wipe away the two million votes that we cast less than two years ago," she said.

"And we do not address the challenges of leaving the European Union by leaving our own union of nations, our biggest market and our closest friends.”