Scottish independence: Labour MSP says SNP needs fresh mandate for IndyRef2

Alex Rowley has told SNP to seek fresh referendum mandate
Alex Rowley has told SNP to seek fresh referendum mandate
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A senior Labour figure has told the SNP to seek a "fresh mandate" for another independence referendum in the 2021 Holyrood elections.

Former Labour deputy leader Alex Rowley said no politician should block a second vote on Scotland leaving the UK if there is a majority among Scots for such a vote - but this isn't the case the moment.

Mr Rowley was addressing MSPs during a debate on Scotland's economy and said Nicola Sturgeon's proposal to hold another referendum next year - without knowing the full implications of Brexit - is "irresponsible."

He added: "We will not know enough to make an informed choice about the Brexit consequences of any independence referendum to take place before 2021.

"England, after all, is our largest trading partner. So I would asked the SNP Government to think again, take the issue of indyref2 off the agenda and seek a fresh mandate in 2021 if you still believe at that point that that is the best way forward.

"I would also make the point I don't believe any politician can tell the people of Scotland that they cannot have a referendum where there's a clear majority in support of one.

"But right now given all the uncertainty, the threat to jobs, the unacceptable cuts taking place in public services, there's no appetite for more uncertainty, more disruption and more division.

"The majority of people in Scotland want us to get on with fixing those issues."

Read more: SNP warned against dictating wording of indyref2 question
Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie also warned that constitutional uncertainty is holding Scotland back.

He branded the arguments about differences in growth, productivity and unemployment in Scotland and the UK as "pointless" because the differences are so marginal

But he said: "There is a massive hurdle, a massive cosh that has been created over our economy in Scotland just now because of the threat of Brexit and because of the threat of independence.

"And both are as bad as each other and both Governments and both parties are as bad as each other if they think these differences are significant.

"What they need to realise is that the constitutional upheaval that's been imposed on our country for the last 10 years has had a significant impact on our economy.

"And we need to make it stop if we're going to give people the opportunity in out country to achieve more.