Scotland should seize the post-Brexit opportunity to push for “maximum devolution” and “home rule” within the UK, senior Labour figures have said.
Mr Rowley has previously indicated that the SNP would be entitled to bring forward another referendum after the Brexit result – but insisted yesterday such a move would be a “distraction”.
Instead, he said a post-Brexit Scotland offered the opportunity to move towards a new constitutional arrangement.
“There is a real opportunity to set a new vision and new settlement more akin to home rule within the UK, more like a federal union that is part of a revised UK constitutional settlement whilst retaining the best aspects of a positive relationship with Europe,” he said in a blog.
“It is essential in this time of turmoil, that in Scotland we have an inclusive discussion about the big issues and challenges for our country moving forward, and we should not be distracted by arguments about a second referendum.”
Labour MEP David Martin told MSPs at Holyrood yesterday that there was growing support within his party for another new constitutional settlement in the wake of the Brexit vote.
He said more powers beyond those given to Holyrood following the independence referendum were now required as a result of a further fracturing of the relationship between Scotland and England. He made the remarks as he gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s European and external relations committee.
Other senior figures within the party, including Mr Rowley, former prime minister Gordon Brown and ex-first minister Henry McLeish have already advocated a move towards a federalised UK.
Mr Martin said: “My own view is that whatever happens post-Brexit, the relationship between Scotland and England has been fractured further than it already was.”
He added: “If you want to keep it [the Union] workable, maximum devolution is now the only option.
“Scotland has clearly indicated that it has a different set of preferences to ... England.
“Yet again we need to be looking at another constitutional settlement and, among that, I think labour and employment are a key element.”