Scottish Labour could follow Welsh party by ‘allowing pro-indy candidates’
Labour in Scotland could follow the party’s example in Wales by allowing pro-independence candidates to stand in parliamentary elections.
According to the Sunday Times it is one of the options that senior Labour figures are discussing in a bid to overturn more than a decade of SNP dominance in Scotland.
Unlike the party in Scotland, Welsh Labour has managed to stay in power throughout devolution, and it won 30 out of 60 seats at the last Senedd election.
A source close to Labour’s Leader in Westminster Keir Starmer has suggested it could help the party claw back votes from the SNP, as part of a wide-range of measures which could include embracing so called devo-max.
This would see further powers devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Under the plan, power over foreign affairs and defence would still be held in Westminster.
A senior Labour source told the Sunday Times: “Yes we are a pro-unionist party but we are a broad church. That means you could have candidates who back independence. You don’t have to have a binary position; you can have people with different stances.”
Scottish Labour said: “Keir Starmer and Anas Sarwar are committed to delivering a Labour government that works for all people across the UK.”
John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, has warned that recent polls suggest devo-max is less popular than the status quo or independence.
He said: “Devo-max does not address the issue that now fuels much of the support for independence: opposition to Brexit.”
Welsh Labour fielded three pro-independence candidates at the last Senedd election. Cian Ireland stood for the party in Dwyfor Meirionnydd, Dylan Lewis-Rowlands stood in Ceredigion, and Ben Gwalchmai stood on the Mid and West Wales list.