McLeish: Scottish Labour Must Split From UK Party Led By Corbyn

28 Jul 2016

 

Labour in Scotland should sever its ties with the UK party before Jeremy Corbyn wrecks its chances of winning the next General Election, former first minister Henry McLeish has said.

 
Writing in The Herald, he said Labour was "nowhere" in the debate over how Britain should approach its withdrawal from the EU.

 
He warned Mr Corbyn was "not the answer" to Labour's decline, which has seen the party slump 16 points behind the Conservatives according the most recent poll. 


He said it could not offer proper opposition during the "discontent and bitter infighting" of the current leadership election, due to conclude on September 24, and feared Mr Corbyn, the odds on favourite to win, would turn Labour into an unelectable protest movement. 


Mr McLeish, who ran the Labour-led Scottish Executive from 2000 to 2001, said it was "essential" Labour in Scotland broke free of the UK party before Scotland's constitutional future was determined. 


"In the short term we will be wrapped up in the leadership campaign but we need to start now to think beyond the next two months and prepare for every eventuality in Scotland and Britain as the political fall -out from June 23 continues and uncertainty deepens. 


"Scotland could see Home Rule, a form of Federalism, independence or some other, as yet unknown, four nation constitutional solution. Regardless of the out -come an Independent Labour Party in Scotland is essential." 


He said an independent Scottish Labour Party could be a "sister party" of UK Labour, which, he warned, had become dominated by "the interests of London, Westminster and England".

 
Mr McLeish's comments put him at odds with Scottish Labour Kezia Dugdale who has argued the party has effective autonomy from London. 


However, Ms Dugdale's deputy, Alex Rowley, has called for a completely separate Scottish party. 


Like Mr McLeish, Ms Dugdale has spoken out against Mr Corbyn, whose leadership is supported by Mr Rowley. 


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