September 24, 2018 / 8:51 AM / a year ago

Scottish Labour leader says party will oppose fresh independence vote

Richard Leonard, leader of the Scottish Labour Party speaks at the party's spring conference in Dundee, Scotland, Britain, March 10, 2018. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne/Files

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Britain’s main opposition Labour Party will oppose a fresh vote on Scottish independence from the United Kingdom, Scottish Labour’s leader Richard Leonard said on Monday, potentially benefiting its political rivals.

“There is no case for a second independence referendum,” Leonard told the BBC, adding that Scots had rejected breaking from the United Kingdom by 55 to 45 percent in a 2014 vote.

The Labour position could upset voters who are undecided on independence or believe the wishes of Scotland’s devolved assembly - where the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) is the largest party - should be respected.

Labour used to be the most dominant party in Scotland but the SNP now holds 35 of the 59 Scottish seats in the UK parliament. To win a majority from Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives, Labour would probably need to recapture many of these.

Labour’s national leader Jeremy Corbyn last week said he would “decide at the time” whether a future Labour government would allow a vote on secession, which needs the backing of the UK parliament, to go ahead.

Reporting by Elisabeth O'Leary

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