Call for Scottish Labour to break from UK party

FORMER Scottish Labour leadership contender Neil Findlay has said that the party in Scotland should be fully independent from Labour at UK level to allow it to have different position on key issues such as opposition to Trident.

Findlay: Blairite policy will 'go down like a bucket of vomit'. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Mr Findlay made the call for an independent Scottish Labour Party, as he also said that calls by figures such as former cabinet minister Lord Mandelson to move back to New Labour-style policies would “go down like a bucket of vomit” north of the Border.

The Lothians MSP said such a move “would be utterly disastrous in Scotland”, after Scottish Labour was left with just one MP in last week’s general election.

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Mr Findlay’s call for Scottish Labour to have full autonomy from the UK party comes days after he quit Jim Murphy’s shadow cabinet to allow him to speak out publicly about future policy direction.

However, Mr Findlay – who was defeated by Mr Murphy in Scottish Labour’s leadership election last year – refused to call for him to resign, saying “that’s for others to decide”.

Mr Findlay instead backed a radical shake-up of Scottish Labour’s relationship with the UK party and said this would allow it to state its opposition to Trident nuclear missiles at Faslane.

He said: “If it needs a separate Labour Party in Scotland, then so be it.

“It’s what we should do anyway and it makes sense about where we should be going.

“It’s inevitable and if you take Trident, if we had an open and democratic debate, I’m convinced that the Labour Party in Scotland would vote against Trident. If that sets us apart from the party in the UK, then so be it.

“I’m sure there are other issues as well where we could have different policy positions from the Labour Party in England but still have a fraternal relationship with it.”

Lord Mandelson, one of the architects of New Labour, had criticised what he said were “terrible” mistakes of Ed Miliband’s leadership and called for a return to the party’s approach under Tony Blair’s leadership.

However, Mr Findlay said: “The move by Blairites down south, saying that we have got to go back to New Labour, would go down like a bucket of vomit in Scotland.”