Calls grow for Scottish Labour to declare independence from Westminster


An independent Labour Party in Scotland is required to meet new politics, says former Labour strategist

LABOUR politicians and campaigners in Scotland have called for the party to gain autonomy from its London leadership, as the crisis deepens over Jim Murphy’s leadership.

Labour’s near wipe-out in Scotland had led to another round of internal wrangling, with trade unions and political leaders calling on Murphy to resign.

Murphy took up the post following the resignation of Johann Lamont MSP

Findlay claimed an independent party was “inevitable” and he was “convinced that the Labour Party in Scotland would vote against Trident” if the party could make its own decisions.

Fellow left-winger, ex-Labour MP Katy Clark, also backed a separate party.

Speaking to CommonSpace, former Labour strategist Andrew McFadyen explained that Scottish Labour required a fresh start after finding itself “on the wrong side of the national and class divide”.

“I think that Scottish Labour needs a clear break from the recent past. It needs a strong sense of change and renewal. In order to get a hearing from voters in Scotland – to show that it’s learned from the tumultuous events – an independent Scottish Labour party needs to be the way forward.”

An independent Labour Party could allow Scottish Labour to take a more left-wing position on taxation, social security and other areas, perhaps including military issues like Trident.

The Labour MP was rumoured to have been central to blocking proposals for greater devolution at the time of the Smith Comission. With Labour MPs in Scotland all but wiped out, an independent Labour Party could be free to support far greater powers for Scotland.

The necessity of renewal is particularly stark as trade unions – who fund the party – consider whether to maintain financial support for Labour at a Scottish level.

McFadyen added: “When you have the biggest unions like Unite calling for a change in leadership that is something that ought to be listened to.”

A party insider told CommonSpace: “If Chukka [Umunna] comes in, it is being viewed as inevitable the Labour Party down South will move to the right, then if that’s the case something radically different has to happen up here.”

The source added: “There is a lot of self-interest [with Jim Murphy]. He’s not interested in the party – where is the interest for the country? If his self-interest comes before the party then what does that say about interest in the country?”

Labour party members will meet in Glasgow tomorrow [Wednesday 13 May] to discuss the position of the leadership and what direction Labour should take.

An SNP spokesperson said: “While Labour turn in on themselves with bitter recriminations, the SNP will get on with the job of good government for the people of Scotland at Holyrood, and standing up for Scottish interests at Westminster.”

Picture courtesy of Scottish Labour