Great Britain

Labour 'fuelling nationalist fire' over Indyref2 as ex-FM admits party has failed Scotland

John Curtice expresses doubts over chances of Indyref2 in 2021

Pollsters claimed both Labour and Scottish Labour’s approach to the increased threat from Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP would lead to a rise in Scottish Nationalism. It comes as a tense period of campaigning is set to begin in Scottish politics with Holyrood elections just four months away.

Sir John Curtice, Professor of Politics at the University of Strathclyde and Scottish pollster said Labour had only done a single outdated speech on independence.

He added to the Daily Express: “Starmer hasn’t come up with anything new, the party hasn’t put flesh on the bone.”

Professor Curtice claimed because Labour had a less “pro-remain position than the SNP” and Sir Keir refused to "renegotiate Brexit” then Remainer voters in Scotland had turned to support independence and were more likely to back the SNP.

Professor Curtice also said both Scottish Labour leadership candidates didn't have well-known enough public profiles and hinted the party could struggle in the upcoming Holyrood elections.

Keir Starmer

Scottish Labour is set to get a new leader (Image: Getty)

Sir Keir Starmer.

Sir Keir has only given one speech on independence (Image: Getty)

James Mackenzie, a Scottish pollster and former Scottish Greens spin doctor, added to this publication: “The Labour party has gone from dominant to essentially just a piece of history.

“I don’t see Starmer as a centrist establishment QC changing that in Scotland.

“Keir Starmer’s argument that an independence referendum should be decided in London is tired.

“Labour’s fundamental problem in Scotland is there’s no longer enough of a market for left-wing Unionism and so it’s now time to choose.”

READ MORE: Furious SNP row erupts as MP ordered to respect Union

Dodds

Monica Lennon MSP who is standing to be Scottish Labour leader (Image: PA)

Monica Lennon will face off with Anas Sarwar in a hotly contested leadership to replace Richard Leonard as the next Scottish Labour leader.

The central Scotland MSP and party health spokeswoman is vying to replace Mr Leonard, who announced on Thursday he would step down from the role he has held since 2017.

Meanwhile, Mr Sarwar, Scottish Labour's constitution spokesman, announced his intention to run again having lost out to Mr Leonard for leadership last time around.

But in a win for SNP leader and First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, both failed to rule out supporting Scottish independence referendum in the future.

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Nicola Sturgeon.

It is argued Labour are increasing support for Scottish independence (Image: Getty)

Speaking tonight, Ms Lennon said “We can’t just wish it [a referendum] away” whilst Anas Sarwar said “We need a period of calm” and only ruled out a second vote for at least the next five years.

Lord Jack MacConnell, former Labour First Minister of Scotland between 2001 and 2007 said Scottish Labour had “plumbed” to large depths.

He said: “What matters is we pick the right person [to lead the party], but also is the opportunity to genuinely understand the depths to which we have plumbed and put together a proper inspirational message for the people of Scotland.”

A Scottish Conservative party source said: “Labour are pitching an old tired argument on independence.”

Boris Johnson

Anas Sarwar MSP is also standing for leader (Image: Getty)

They claimed Labour was “fuelling the Nationalism fire and handing more votes to the SNP on a plate” because of their lack of Union messaging.

They concluded: “Only the Scottish Conservatives are a viable opposition to the SNP during the vote.”

On Scottish Labour’s performance under Richard Leonard, the former First Minister said he failed to persuade Scottish voters to support a Labour vision.

The SNP rubbed IndyRef2 in Labour’s face last night however after a 19th poll revealed overwhelming support for Scottish independence.

Richard Leonard

Richard Leonard resigned last week (Image: Getty)

But support was lower than the average of 55 percent with only 51 per cent of Scots saying Scotland be an independent country.

The Survation poll, conducted on behalf of ScotGoesPop, was undertaken last week and released today.

Keith Brown, deputy leader of the SNP, said: “Majority support for independence is now the established position of the people of Scotland.

“And no wonder, when only independence will enable the people of Scotland to build a fairer, greener, more prosperous country.

“Voters in Scotland don’t want a Labour party which lines up behind Boris Johnson and signs up for a hard Brexit which threatens Scotland's economy and future prosperity.”

The last Scottish Labour leadership contest in 2017 - when Mr Leonard defeated Mr Sarwar - took two-and-a-half months.

Party members and affiliated supporters will cast their votes from February 9 until ballots close on February 26 with the new leader to be announced the following day.

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