The general secretary of the STUC has dismissed Labour’s rejection of another independence referendum as not “viable”.
Roz Foyer said Labour should get on the “front foot” in the debate on Scotland’s constitutional future and appeal to pro-independence workers.
However, his critics believe he is shutting himself off from receiving the backing of voters who support a referendum.
In an interview with the Record, Foyer, whose STUC represents hundreds of thousands of workers, said:
“We absolutely support the right to self-determination for the Scottish people. At the end of the day, it should be up to the Scottish Parliament to determine whether there’s an indyref2.”
On the Tory Government’s rejection of a referendum, she said: “I honestly believe that it would be very difficult for the UK Government to maintain a stance should the Scottish people through various elections and through the Scottish Parliament come to a clear position on where, when and how they wish to have a referendum.
“I certainly think it would be very damaging to our whole UK democracy if the UK Government was to deny that request when it’s put in a viable way.”
Foyer also criticised Labour’s stance opposing indyref2: “I certainly would hope that the Labour Party takes a look at itself and gets on the front foot and thinks about how to appeal to all of the workers and voters that do support some form of independence or further powers for Scotland, and really thinks about how they’re going to make a viable offer to those people.”
She also said there is a “policy difference” between the Labour party and wider Labour movement on a referendum:
“The Labour Party has to look very carefully at this. I think just rejecting the idea of a second indy referendum ever happening is not a viable way forward.
“I think we have to engage to some extent with the constitutional debate and I think that we should be actively thinking about coming up with options for the future. I would like to see the Labour Party get more on the front foot and come up with some viable solutions.”
Foyer said she is open to a multi-option referendum that is not simply a straight fight between Yes and No.
She also criticised the SNP’s blueprint for independence: “The SNP’s Growth Commission-based vision for independence doesn’t do that much to change business-as-usual as far as the economy goes.”
SNP Depute Leader Keith Brown said: “The SNP welcomes Roz Foyer’s comments recognising what most of Scotland knows – that Anas Sarwar continuing to reject the country’s democratic decision to hold a referendum is unviable and unsustainable.
“The case against continued Westminster control over Scotland is unanswerable. We have suffered the catastrophe of Brexit, then liar Boris Johnson’s partying during lockdown followed by Westminster’s negligent inaction to protect hard-pressed families from this Tory cost of living crisis. They are obvious demonstrations of why Scotland needs independence.
“Anas Sarwar is faced with a choice: Is he on the side of democracy – and the SNP’s cast-iron mandate to hold another referendum – or is he on the side of law-breaking Boris Johnson and keeping power in the hands of the Toxic Tories? It’s time Scottish Labour started siding with the people of Scotland.”
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