PM humiliates Alexander over referendum

The damaging rift between Wendy Alexander and the prime minister has widened after she was ordered by Gordon Brown to "close down" any further discussion of an Independence referendum.

But a referendum on Scottish independence now appears almost inevitable after Labour's leader at Holyrood announced yesterday that she would not block the SNP's referendum bill in 2010.

Speaking on the BBC Scotland Politics Show, Ms Alexander repeated her support for a vote on Independence as a way of clearing up Scotland's constitutional future.

She went even further saying her party would "not vote down" a bill which gave Scots the chance to decide their future, effectively  tying Labour into helping deliver the SNP's manifesto policy to
hold an Independence referendum in 2010.

Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP depute leader, said Ms Alexander's concession represented "substantial gains" for the Independence cause.

She added: "The one thing that has been made clear by Wendy Alexander is Labour's concession of the right of the Scottish Parliament to consult the people on Independence for Scotland.

"Wendy Alexander has obviously been brought into line by Gordon Brown, which leaves her with nowhere else to go other than supporting the SNP’s 2010 referendum policy."

First Minister Alex Salmond branded her the "Comical Alexander" of Scottish politics.

"The situation is utterly farcical for Labour," said Mr Salmond.

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