Scottish Labour should totally split from UK Labour so it can oppose Trident, MSP says

The former leadership contender says the party could have a different stance on issues

Jon Stone
Tuesday 12 May 2015 15:49
Neil Findlay was a contender to replace Johann Lamont as Scottish Labour leader
Neil Findlay was a contender to replace Johann Lamont as Scottish Labour leader

Scottish Labour should become fully independent of the UK Labour party so that it can oppose Trident renewal, one of the party’s MSPs has proposed.

Neil Findlay, who ran against Jim Murphy for the party’s leadership last year, said complete political autonomy would allow his party to have different position on issues such as nuclear weapons.

The MSP told the Scotsman newspaper that any move back to New Labour policies by UK Labour that dragged the Scottish party rightwards too would “go down like a bucket of vomit” up north.

“If it needs a separate Labour Party in Scotland, then so be it. It’s what we should do anyway and it makes sense about where we should be going,” he told the newspaper.

Mr Findlay said Scottish Labour would be likely to oppose Trident renewal were it able to have a free and frank internal debate on it.

“I’m sure there are other issues as well where we could have different policy positions from the Labour Party in England but still have a fraternal relationship with it,” he added.

Trident is more unpopular in Scotland than it is in the rest of the United Kingdom, according to opinion polls.

A Survation poll conducted in January showed 47% of Scottish people opposing renewal, with 32% in favour.

Mr Findlay's proposal for his party would mirror the structure of the Green Party, which has split into the Green Party of England and Wales and the Scottish Greens.

The MSP, who is associated with the left wing of the party, stepped down from the shadow cabinet over the weekend over what he said was a “disastrous” election result.

Scottish Labour lost all but one of its MPs in Scotland to the SNP last week, including that of leader Jim Murphy.

Mr Murphy has faced calls to resign from a member of his shadow cabinet and from trade unions, but has so far resisted.

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