Scottish Labour ‘should split from UK party’, says MSP

Monica Lennon said the link with the UK party was stopping the Scottish Labour leadership from being taken seriously
Monica Lennon said the link with the UK party was stopping the Scottish Labour leadership from being taken seriously
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A Scottish Labour MSP has suggested that the party splits from its UK counterpart to reverse its “long-term decline” in Scotland.

Monica Lennon said the link with the UK party was stopping the Scottish Labour leadership from being taken seriously.

Ms Lennon’s comments follow last month’s general election in which the party lost all but one of its MPs in Scotland with Ian Murray re-elected for Edinburgh South.

Throughout the campaign, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard were pressed on their positions on Brexit and Scottish independence, with opponents suggesting contradictions in their stances.

A review is being conducted by Scottish Labour into their election failings, with some in the party having suggested a move towards allowing for a second independence vote.

READ MORE: Scottish Labour ‘should back IndyRef2’

“With the 2021 Holyrood election looming, the internal review announced by Richard Leonard will rightly examine what went wrong,” Ms Lennon wrote in a Glasgow-based newspaper.

“We must be honest about our long-term decline. We are the third-largest party at Holyrood but our capacity to shrink is a sure bet, unless we act fast.

“The opportunity to recast ourselves as a modern, dynamic political force is there - if we are prepared to take bold action.

“My submission to the review will recommend we become a separate political party in our own right.

“It’s no longer tenable for decisions about Scottish Labour to be taken or undermined by colleagues outside of Scotland.

“The UK link is stopping the Scottish leader from being heard or taken seriously.

“If we look like a pressure group within a UK party structure, we will continue to be rejected.”

Ms Lennon listed reasons including Mr Leonard not being allowed to have his face on the European election leaflets last year, as well as shadow chancellor John McDonnell’s comments on Scottish independence at the Edinburgh Festival fringe as examples of the party being undermined.

And she also said that disciplinary issues - including those concerning a councillor who allegedly directed racist comments towards Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf, as well as the suspension of councillors in Aberdeen who were suspended after forming a pact with the Tories - as further reasons why the party should split.

Ms Lennon added: “Scottish Labour needs to stand or fall by its own decisions.

“We either continue at the mercy of the UK party’s distant structures or we become a party in our own right.”