Angela Rayner dodges Scottish Independence question three times3 min read
Humza Yousaf quizzed on arrest of SNP treasurer Colin Beattie
Angela Rayner refused three times this afternoon to say whether Labour would block the SNP attempting to force another independence referendum on the Scottish people. Asked by reporters after a speech in Scotland today, Ms Rayner eventually said it was “not for me to decide”.
The Scottish Sun repeatedly asked the Labour deputy leader whether their party in government would reject a so-called Section 30 request from the Scottish First Minister, which would give the Scottish Government the freedom to hold a referendum without Westminster’s consent.
Despite the current Government and UK Supreme Court denying the SNP government this power, Ms Rayner was unable to offer unionist voters in Scotland the same reassurance.
Following her speech at the Scottish Trades Union Congress in Dundee, she was asked what Labour would say to Mr Yousaf if he made a request for Section 30 powers.
She replied: “I would say to SNP voters I understand their desire for change.”
Pressed on her answer, she responded: “Well, we want a Labour government, end of.”
Asked a third time to clarify whether Labour would grant the SNP a Section 30 order, she said: “That’s not for me to decide whether that happens or not, but we’re very clear we want a Labour government and we want Labour MPs.”
The repeated refusal to answer the Scottish Sun’s question on Scottish independence came after Ms Rayner delivered a speech attempting to woo over wavering SNP voters to Labour, following weeks of turmoil involving Humza Yousaf.
Ms Rayner said the SNP views independence as a “silver bullet” to the problems facing Scotland, but Labour could provide the change desired by the party’s voters.
She said the SNP is “warped by their internal wars”, and the Scottish people are “aching” for change that neither the SNP nor Tories will deliver.
Polling guru Professor Sir John Curtice has said that there will be a “very strong incentive” for Sir Keir Starmer’s party to do a deal with the SNP after the next general election.
Scottish Tory chairman Craig Hoy accused Ms Rayner of having “let the cat well and truly out the bag”, after she failed to confirm Labour will block a second independence referendum.
“Labour’s UK deputy leader has shown once again that you simply cannot trust her party to protect the Union.
“Pro-UK voters will be appalled that Keir Starmer’s No2 could simply not say no to Humza Yousaf’s push for another divisive referendum.
“It is only the Scottish Conservatives who can be trusted to stand firm against the SNP’s plans to break up the United Kingdom.”
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Angela Rayner listed the SNP government’s failures during her speech at the Scottish Trades Union Congress, including NHS waiting times, drug deaths and child poverty.
“That’s the SNP legacy, and it’s working people that are paying the price,” she said. “Each and every day, they are showing they are not the answer to the question and that Humza Yousaf is not the man to resolve it, either.”
“Only Labour has the vision and the energy to stand up for Scotland. Only Labour can deliver a new deal for Scottish working people.”
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