SNP Has No Mandate For Second Independence Vote, Labour MP Says

24 February 2017, 12:30 | Updated: 24 February 2017, 12:34

Labour MP Ian Murray at Scottish Party Conference

The SNP has "absolutely no mandate'' to hold a second referendum on independence, Labour MP Ian Murray has told the party's Scottish conference.

Mr Murray said Labour would oppose any moves to hold a second vote as he opened a debate on proposals for a more federal UK.

The party's only Scottish MP issued the warning amid growing speculation Nicola Sturgeon will announce a rerun of the 2014 independence ballot in the coming weeks.

"I want to make it absolutely clear to both Nicola Sturgeon, and indeed to Ruth Davidson, the SNP has absolutely no mandate for another Scottish independence referendum,'' Mr Murray said.

"If they try to push one through, Scottish Labour will oppose it in the Scottish Parliament all the way.''

The First Minister has said another referendum is "highly likely'' following the Brexit vote last year.

Mr Murray said the Conservatives were to blame for the prospect of another vote dominating the political agenda, branding the party as the "the SNP enablers''.

"It is they who are really responsible for this current mess - Nicola Sturgeon's mibbes aye, mibbes naw referendum,'' he said.

"Thanks to them, the constitution has barely been off the agenda since the early hours of September 19.''

Mr Murray asked party members to endorse Scottish leader Kezia Dugdale's vision for a new "Act of Union'' for the UK in response to both Brexit and calls for a second independence referendum.

A motion put before the conference in Perth calls on the UK party to convene a "People's Constitutional Convention'', made up of citizens from across the UK, which would then report back before the 2020 general election.

That convention is part of Ms Dugdale's proposals for a more federal UK, which would also see increased powers for Holyrood, Cardiff Bay, Stormont and the English regions.

Mr Murray said: "The vision before you today is one of hope and optimism.

"It will mean that every part of the UK and every part of Scotland is contributing to our success.

"It will reforge our democracy and our society, and safeguard it for the future.

"This is an historic moment for our party. Labour, the party of devolution - now ready to seize the mantle as the party of federalism.

"The party that stands up for what the majority of people in Scotland want - firmly, unquestionably opposed to independence, but also opposed to the status quo. The party that believes together we're stronger.

"Today our country is deeply divided, not just by constitutional politics but by economic inequality.

"To restore faith in our politics, to build a more united society and create an economy that works for working people, we believe that we need to create a more federal UK.''