It is time for Labour to have an honest, open debate with itself about its constitutional vision for Scotland, the SNP’s Linda Fabiani has said.

Her remarks follow a stark warning to the Labour Party from former First Minister Henry McLeish that the anti-independence campaign was in danger of being seen as “anti-Scottish.”

In a wide-ranging attack today on the Party’s current approach to the constitutional debate, Mr Mcleish:
• said that Labour had had “five wasted years” since its 2007 defeat, and that he has “not known a time when Labour has been so reluctant to embrace change and embrace the ideals of the Scottish people.”
• claimed that Unionist parties “are offering constitutional jam tomorrow and that’s not credible.”
• warned Labour that no second question on the ballot paper would mean people either voting for independence or not voting at all.

Ms Fabiani – former convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Scotland Bill Committee - said that it was becoming increasingly clear that the Labour leadership are out of touch with large swathes of the party membership, and it was time for them to have an honest discussion about their vision for the future of Scotland.

Commenting, she said:

"Henry McLeish's comments underline the basic problem for the anti-independence campaign – which is that it is Tory-led, totally negative, and offers Scotland nothing.

“The SNP – along with other supporters of independence – are happy to put forward our visions for the future of Scotland, and debate the huge opportunities offered by an independent Scotland.

“But Henry McLeish is right – it is just not credible for Labour to just say no to everything, and offer vague promises of jam tomorrow. He is also right to say that that will only encourage more people to vote Yes to independence

“We’ve already seen from the likes of the Labour for Independence group that Mr McLeish is definitely not the only one in his party in thinking this.

“When have the Labour party ever had a formal debate, and voted to support the Union and oppose independence?

“The Labour membership must be allowed to have an honest internal debate on its constitutional vision – or is Johann Lamont afraid of what she might hear?

“With the most recent poll putting support for independence ahead of both the status quo and more devolved powers, we are confident of achieving a Yes vote for independence in autumn 2014."



See reports:

The Panelbase poll for the Sunday Times and Real Radio Scotland surveyed 1,012 adults in Scotland between 11th - 17th July 2012.

When the three constitutional options are asked alongside each other, independence is the most popular:

Independence: 30%
More devolution: 29%
Status Quo: 28%

Asked about supporting independence the figures are:

Yes: 36%
No: 45%
Don't Know: 20%

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