Scottish election 2021: SNP accuses Labour leader of lack of respect for democracy

Anas Sarwar has been accused of failing to “respect Scottish democracy” by the SNP, with the party claiming his anti-referendum stance is in direct contrast to that of Welsh Labour leader Mark Drakeford.

Mr Sarwar, who has said the next five years of the Scottish Parliament should be focused on Covid recovery and not another referendum, was criticised by SNP deputy leader Keith Brown, who said the Scottish Labour leader was out of touch with his party.

A recent poll found 56 per cent of Labour supporters across the UK believe the party should back another independence vote “in principle”, compared with just 28 per cent of Scottish Labour members.

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Anas Sarwar has said the constitution should not be a focus of the next parliament.

And in a BBC Radio 4 interview, Mr Drakeford said his party would support holding a referendum if pro-independence Plaid Cymru win a Welsh Parliament election.

Mr Brown said Mr Drakeford’s stance was proof that the Welsh Labour leader “gets it” while Mr Sarwar does not.

"He respects democracy in Wales and is prepared to defend his country’s right to choose,” Mr Brown said.

"Anas Sarwar clearly does not believe in democracy and he needs to explain why.”

However, shadow Scotland secretary Ian Murray said his party’s position was “crystal clear”.

"We do not support independence or a second referendum,” he said.

“Lives and livelihoods are still at risk in this pandemic. Welsh and Scottish Labour are in complete agreement – the focus of the next five years must be on recovery from the pandemic. Both are opposed to independence.”

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