SNP gets independence backing as Scottish Labour candidate says she will not stop new vote

Indyref2: Monica Lennon discusses her stance on vote

Monica Lennon will face off with Anas Sarwar in a hotly contested leadership race 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. But in a win for SNP leader and First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, Ms Lennon has failed to rule out supporting a Scottish independence referendum in the future.

Ms Lennon has previously stated she is not against a second independence poll, telling BBC Good Morning Scotland on Tuesday: “I’m not against democracy.”

She said: “Well, what I have said is that I am not against democracy, I think the Labour Party in Scotland need to listen more carefully to what people are actually saying and what their priorities are.

“I don’t believe that people’s priority is to have another referendum. I think right now the economy and sorting that out, we are leaving through the worst economic crisis, what will Labour do about that for them and their families.

“They also want to know what we are going to do to rebuild the NHS because we have had to focus on Covid at the expense of everything else.”

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A new poll has suggested the majority of Scots support independence from the UK ahead of the Holyrood elections in May.

Asked if a majority for the SNP would give nationalists a mandate for a second poll, Ms Lennon said: “So one of the main reasons I am standing to be the leader of Scottish Labour is to stop the majority of people from voting for the SNP and to have them voting for Labour.

“Because we have seen up close during this pandemic what more than a decade of SNP rule has done to Scotland,” she said.

A recent poll carried out by Survation, conducted on behalf of the pro-independence Scot Goes Pop blog, found that more than half of Scots think their country should be outside of the UK.

SNP has put Scottish public services ‘on their knees’ says Lennon

Of those polled, 51 percent backed independence while 49 percent believe Scotland should remain part of the UK.

Before don’t knows are excluded, the figures are 45 percent for yes, 43 percent for no and 12 percent for don’t know.

And the survey showed female voters are more likely to vote for independence.

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Lord McConnell, 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.”

Labour 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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