Scottish Labour to go into 2021 election opposed to indyref2

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Richard LeonardImage source, PA Media
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Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said the constitutional debate in Scotland had "fundamentally changed"

Scottish Labour will go into 2021's Holyrood elections opposed to a second independence referendum.

The party's Scottish Executive Committee has agreed to campaign for a programme of home rule, devolution and democratic advance within the UK.

It said after Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic, Scotland did not need "more constitutional turmoil".

Leader Richard Leonard said the focus should be on rebuilding the economy, public services and communities.

The SNP said Scottish Labour had decided to "alienate themselves even further from the people of Scotland" by opposing independence.

Following a meeting of his party's executive committee, Mr Leonard said the coronavirus pandemic had "fundamentally changed" the terms of the constitutional debate in Scotland.

He said: "We believe that the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections must be about electing a government and a parliament that will dedicate its entire focus to rebuilding Scotland's economy, public services and communities after the devastating impact of Covid-19.

"That work must be the focus of the next Scottish government and so we will be going into that election in 2021 with a Scottish Labour Party position that is opposed to a second referendum."

'Blatantly ignoring'

Mr Leonard added: "If the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us anything it is that people do not want to be divided.

"Communities want and need to come together. We thrive when we are working towards the common good."

SNP depute leader Keith Brown said there was "growing and majority" support for independence.

He said: "The (Scottish Labour) party's top brass aren't just out of touch with the electorate, though, they are blatantly ignoring their own members and politicians who have publicly backed Scotland's right to choose a better future.

"No wonder support for the Labour party has totally collapsed in Scotland and they have lost the trust of voters."