Lisa Nandy: Whole of UK should make decision on indyref2

Labour leadership contender Lisa Nandy has suggested the decision on whether to hold a second independence...

Lisa Nandy: Whole of UK should make decision on indyref2 STV
Lisa Nandy: My Catalonia comments were wilfully distorted.

Labour leadership contender Lisa Nandy has suggested the decision on whether to hold a second independence referendum should be taken by “the whole of the UK”.

The Wigan MP said the matter of Scottish independence “affects us all” and indicated there should be “dialogue” across the whole country before Scotland conducted a new independence ballot.

Speaking to STV’s Scotland Tonight, she also addressed controversy over her comments last month suggesting that the UK could “look to Catalonia” as an example of how to defeat nationalist movements.

Nandy said her remarks had been “wilfully distorted by the SNP”, and referred to “peaceful” opposition to Catalan independence from the Spanish left rather than the Spanish conservative government’s police crackdown during the 2017 Catalan referendum.

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She arrived in Scotland on Tuesday to meet workers at the McVitie’s biscuit factory in Glasgow, and then Scottish Labour MSPs at Holyrood.

The MP is in the running to replace Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader, along with Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Emily Thornberry.

Nandy said Labour MSPs had told her there was no “clamour” in Scotland for a new independence vote.

She told STV: “It’s up to the people of Scotland but I do believe promises matter, and we were told at the time by the SNP that this was a once-in-a-generation decision.

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“I think if there’s an overwhelming clamour for an independence referendum, it’s not for me to stand in the way of that.

“But I would be very driven and led by what Scottish Labour saying.

“I’ve just been meeting with MSPs today and I didn’t hear that clamour for another referendum.”

It comes as three recent polls have showed support for Scottish independence at 50% or higher in the wake of the UK’s departure from the EU at the end of January.

New independence poll finds 51% of Scots would vote Yes Read now

In the same week, MSPs voted to endorse the principle of holding a second referendum by the end of the year, with Nicola Sturgeon suggesting a “consultative” ballot could be held even without Westminster’s consent, provided the courts ruled such a move legal.

Boris Johnson has rejected a formal request from Scottish ministers for the power to hold an independence vote.

Pressed by STV’s political editor Colin Mackay on if Holyrood, not Westminster, should ultimately decide whether to hold indyref2, Nandy said: “This is an issue that affects the whole of the United Kingdom and I think it’s a decision that has to made together.

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“I think people in Scotland have a huge interest in this and a huge stake and their voices have to be heard and they have to be substantially involved in driving that decision.

“But it has to be dialogue and it has to be dialogue with the rest of the UK because it affects us all.”

The Labour leadership hopeful called for “genuine discussion” on the question which she said the UK had traditionally “done well” – but added the current UK Government “has shown nothing but contempt for people in every nation and region of the country over the last few years”.

On the controversy over her remarks on Catalonia, Nandy said: “My comments were wilfully distorted by the SNP and I think it’s a shame that they’re trying to find more ways to divide us from one another.

“I talked about looking outwards across the world to places like Quebec and Catalonia where the Spanish socialists have peacefully resisted the cause of separatism and made the case of social justice.

“They’re on course to do very well in the Catalan elections coming up in the next few months.”

She added: “There is absolutely no way anyone could believe that a Labour MP was looking to a right-wing Spanish government who uses violence against its own people to peacefully advance the cause of social justice.”

For more from Lisa Nandy’s interview with Colin Mackay, tune into Scotland Tonight at 10.40pm on Tuesday.