Nicola Sturgeon Scotland’s first minster has hinted of forming a pact with Labour to keep the Conservatives out of government after the shadow chancellor said his party will not block a second referendum.
John McDonnell spoke with journalist Iain Dale at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and said any decision on holding a vote for the Scottish independence referendum will be up to the Scottish parliament.
This follows comments made on Tuesday by Sturgeon that the SNP will “always want to be part of a progressive alternative to a Tory government.”
McDonnell said: “It will be for the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish people to decide that.
“They will take a view about whether they want another referendum. Nicola Sturgeon said by late next year or the beginning of 2021.”
The shadow secretary said, “We would not block something like that. We would let the Scottish people decide. That’s democracy.
“There are other views within the party but that’s our view.”
Although on Tuesday McDonnell said, “The Scottish parliament will come to a considered view on that and they will submit that to the government and the English parliament itself.
“If the Scottish people decide they want a referendum, that’s for them.”
However, Scotland’s Labour leader Richard Leonard somewhat differs from McDonnell’s.
Leonard said in an interview with the BBC’s Sunday Politics Scotland in March, he said if Labour took power in Westminster Labour would refuse to grant the “section 30 order” that enables Holyrood to hold another vote.
He added, “What we said in the manifesto at the 2017 election was that there is no case for, and we would not support, a second independence referendum.”
Sturgeon said to the Guardian newspaper, “I have fought two general elections now as SNP leader, and, in both of them, I have been pretty candid.
“We would always want to be part of a progressive alternative to a Tory government. That remains the case.
“I think in politics you’ve got to be careful. But it would not be my intention, to go into a formal coalition.
“I said that in 2015 and 2017 that’s not a new thing. But some kind of progressive alliance that could lock the Tories out of government. It wouldn’t be a blank cheque-type scenario.”