LABOUR'S civil war has intensified with Scottish Labour MSP group leader Jackie Baillie being accused of leading a “rightwing, kamikaze Unionist faction” against Richard Leonard with the release of an allegedly unsanctioned Holyrood group statement on indyref2.

An email signed off by Baillie, revealed on pro-independence website CommonSpace, showed party leader Leonard did not want the statement to be published.

The statement is the latest controversy in the party, following Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell ignoring the pleas of Leonard and saying he wouldn't stand in the way of infyref2.

READ MORE: Labour in crisis as John McDonnell ignores Richard Leonard

The statement, apparently from a “majority” of Scottish Labour MSPs, does not reference this scenario, or express a view on it. Rather, it restates Scottish Labour’s opposition to a second Scottish independence referendum.

The National:

It reads: "We deplore any attempts to undermine the official policy position of the Scottish Labour Party and we express serious concerns about an apparent change in Labour’s position on a matter of vital importance to the future of Scotland and of the Scottish Labour Party itself.

“Scottish party policy is very clear – that is opposition to a second independence referendum.

“There is therefore an urgent need for the UK party leadership to engage constructively with the Scottish party leadership on the issue of the party’s stance on the future of Scotland.

“We are clear Labour’s position on Scotland’s future is a decision for Scottish Labour, which the UK party must accept.

“We expect all Scottish Labour MPs and MSPs to vote in accordance with party policy.”

A seniour Scottish Labour source told CommonSpace: “This is the action of wolves in sheep’s clothing. This is not about offering support after the comments from John MacDonnell this week, rather it’s about trying to undermine Richard Leonard, Jeremy Corbyn and the socialist leadership of Labour North and South of the border. 

“This of course is not new as a small number of MSPs, led by the ringleader of today’s letter, have never accepted Richard Leonard or Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership’s since they got elected. 

“If they really wanted to constructively engage and help they wouldn’t have released this letter, they would have accepted Richard’s advice not to attack the party publicly and get on with the job of presenting our radical policy programme and fighting to help us win what could be an imminent General Election and the support, lost after 2014 and the disastrous Better Together partnership, where some in Labour campaigned alongside the most vicious Tory government in living memory.”

Another source said: “This has nothing to do with Scottish Labour party policy and everything to do with Jackie Baillie’s determination to undermine Richard Leonard at every possible opportunity. She knows that a serious debate on this question is long overdue and is using the parliamentary group as cover to try and keep her own rightwing, kamikaze unionist faction from vanishing with only the 2015 election defeat to remember them by.”

READ MORE: Labour MP questions SNP indyref2 mandate in car crash BBC interview

A few Scottish Labour politicians have backed McDonnell's comments, with MSP Neil Finlay saying it would be "democratic" to allow indyref2 if there was a mandate for it.

He told BBC Radio Scotland: "I don’t want a second referendum. I would campaign against it. I would campaign against independence as vociferously as I did the last time.

“However if there’s a majority in the Scottish Parliament and parties have stood on a manifesto saying that they will have a referendum, and if those parties get a majority, then I think it’s just democratic to say that they would then be allowed to negotiate with the UK government to have that referendum.

“I think in that process, any negotiated that they had would have to come back to a confirmatory vote of the Scottish people."