SHADOW Chancellor John McDonnell promised that a Labour Government will not block a second referendum on Scottish independence.

The comments will cause dismay among Scottish Labour, and will embarrass Richard Leonard, who has long insisted otherwise.

Speaking at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, McDonnell told LBC host Iain Dale that the issue would be for the “Scottish Parliament and the Scottish people to decide”.

He added: “They will take a view about whether they want another referendum. Nicola Sturgeon said by late next year or the beginning of 2021.

“The Scottish Parliament will come to a considered view on that and they will submit that to the Government and the English parliament itself.

“If the Scottish people decide they want a referendum that’s for them.”

He added: “We would not block something like that. We would let the Scottish people decide. That’s democracy.

“There are other views within the party but that’s our view.”

MSPs voted 69-59 two years ago for a Section 30 order, but Theresa May refused to grant one.

Last year, speaking at the party’s conference, Leonard insisted “that the next Labour manifesto will oppose another independence referendum.”

In March of this year, he even said a Labour government would refuse to grant a Section 30 order.

He told the BBC Sunday Politics Scotland: “We will not agree to a second independence referendum. There’s no appetite for it.

“A Labour government... would not agree to a second independence referendum emerging from either the Scottish Parliament or from any other quarters. There is no case for a second independence referendum.”

The row comes as an explosive poll suggested the majority of Scots now supported independence. The survey, commissioned by former Tory Chairman, Lord Ashcroft also revealed that a third of Labour’s voters would back independence.

A Scottish Tory spokesman said: “We all know Nicola Sturgeon’s condition for support in Westminster would be green-lighting a second independence referendum. Now it seems John McDonnell is very happy to pay that price. Yet again, it shows only the Scottish Conservatives can be trusted on the Union.”

SNP MSP George Adam said: “We trust this position will now receive the fulsome backing of Richard Leonard and Scottish Labour.”

Scottish Labour have been approached for comment.

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