SCOTTISH Labour is wrong to oppose people in Scotland having a new vote on independence, according to the party’s longest serving parliamentarian.

David Martin MEP insisted voters north of the Border should be given a second chance to decide if Scotland should become independent following Brexit.

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He gave his views after his party leader Richard Leonard last month said Labour will commit to opposing a second independence referendum in its next UK manifesto. Leonard believes the move would give Jeremy Corbyn a mandate to refuse permission for such a vote to be held.

Speaking in Brussels, Martin said: “There I disagree with Richard. If we leave the EU in acrimonious circumstances and there is a mood for a second referendum, then I think the Scottish people have the right to make a decision.”

The National:

It was pointed out that UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he wouldn’t rule out allowing people in Scotland a second independence referendum.

Martin responded: “He might be close to me than Richard on that one.”

He said he had not discussed his different views on the issue with Leonard.

Martin is a Labour elder statesman and was a member of the First Minister’s “standing council on Europe” that proposed a distinctive deal on Scotland’s relationship with the EU. He has been an MEP since 1984.

He campaigned for no in 2014 and is reconsidering how he would vote in a new plebiscite.

“The truth is it really would depends on circumstances, on what happens when we leave the EU, what the mood is, if there is a complete crisis, then I think it does edge me more towards independence,” he said.

“If we leave in a civilised, constructive manner then it starts to depend on what the future trading relationship and what other relationships are.

“But frankly, more than Brexit, what worries me is whether England is becoming a more inward-looking country. And if it does continue down that path then it would make me change my mind about remaining in the UK.”

He continued: “I did campaign hard in 2014 for Scotland to remain part of the United Kingdom and part of our politics is to look outwards, outwards from Scotland, from the UK and from the UK to Europe. But if [the UK] is to become an insular country then it would make me reassess my view.”

The National:

His intervention comes days after former Scottish Labour Kezia Dugdale said she can “understand” why a no-deal Brexit could lead “many” former No voters to back independence.

Meanwhile, a senior European insider made clear there would be no special differentiated deal for Scotland as part of the withdrawal agreement despite moves to protect Northern Ireland’s status in the single market and customs union.

“As far as we are concerned Europe has been very, very clear that Ireland is a unique case – that’s it.

“As far as we’re concerned, and that’s been accepted by everybody, at this stage nobody’s going to change as we haven’t even got anything for Ireland yet,” he said.

The source suggested that further down the line in terms of the future relationship between the UK and the EU, it may be possible to consider the issue of a special status for Scotland again.

“In the future relationship maybe then we might try and see what deals would be possible and what wouldn’t be done,” he said.

“In this round no, that was never going to be done. It was never going to be special whether people like it or not. But I wish you well.”

A SNP spokeswoman said: “Brexit means there is now a much more positive view of an independent Scotland among our European friends and neighbours.

“And the Tories’ shambolic handling of Brexit has killed off the credibility of any future ‘Project Fear’ campaign against independence.

“Scotland has been part of the EU for 45 years, meaning we already meet the rules, so we would be very well prepared to join as an independent nation.”

Responding to Martin, a Scottish Labour spokesperson said the remarks were “hypothetical statements which do not reflect Scottish Labour policy in any way, shape, or form”.

He said: “If Brexit has made one thing clear, it is that there are severe challenges in leaving a political and economic union. All of the challenges we see with leaving the EU would be repeated on a much larger scale with leaving the UK.