THE SNP has warned Labour that ‘no Westminster government’ can block a second independence referendum.

Kirsty Blackman, the SNP’s deputy Westminster leader, hit out after shadow Chancellor John McDonnell ruled out making deals with Nicola Sturgeon’s party.

Interviewed on the BBC McDonnell was asked about his comments at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe last month that Labour would not block a second independence referendum.

He iterated that Labour would not block a new vote, but said a second referendum would not be "a priority”.

The National:

Responding Blackman said: “No Westminster government, of any party, has the right to stand in the way of the sovereign right of the people of Scotland to determine their own future.

“John McDonnell is right to recognise it would be completely undemocratic for a Labour Westminster Government to try to block a fresh independence referendum, which the Scottish people and Parliament have voted to hold.

“The SNP will put Scotland’s opposition to Brexit and our right to choose our own future as an independent nation at the heart of the coming election.

“A win for the SNP will reinforce Scotland’s right to choose and see any remaining opposition at Westminster wash away.”

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At the Edinburgh festival last month, McDonnell claimed Labour would not stand in the way of another referendum in Scotland, describing the Scottish Parliament’s right to decide as “democracy”, contradicting the Scottish Labour Party’s position.

Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show on yesterday morning, McDonnell said that it was still his opinion but added: “That’s not a deal, that’s my personal view that I’ve expressed.

“That’s not doing a deal, that’s my position, but we’re not doing deals with anyone.

“When we go into the next general election, I believe we will have a majority, but if we are in a minority, we will be a minority government, we won’t do coalitions, we will expect [other parties] to support the party.

“If we’re in a minority position, we’ll form a government and the other opposition parties can vote for the policies we’re advocating and if they don’t, we’ll go back to the people.”

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Under section 30 of the Scotland Act, Holyrood could only hold one if it is given the power to do so by the UK Government.

Asked whether he would try to prevent another independence vote if in government, he added: “I said then (in Edinburgh), I don’t think it’s up to the UK Parliament to block a referendum.

“I don’t think there should be another referendum, I think Scotland should stay united within the United Kingdom.

“It would not be a priority for us, we’ve got enough to deal with, with climate change, austerity, etc.

“Certainly it wouldn’t be in the early years of a Labour government and there would have to be a proper mandate in Scotland – the Scottish people would have to decide themselves.”

The National:

Nicola Sturgeon wants to hold a second independence referendum in the second half of next year.

She told Holyrood last week she will ask for a Section 30 order during the progress of a bill through Holyrood setting out the rules for a new vote. The bill is expected to be passed later this year.

Amid increased anticipation of a General Election this autumn the First Minister has argued that the argument for independence would be at the heart of the SNP’s campaign.

Opinion polls show increasing backing for independence with support between 49% and 52%. A YouGov poll for The Times earlier this month also found the number of people who want a second vote on independence held within the next five years had overtaken those opposed. A total of 45% said there should be a referendum with 44% opposed and 11 unsure.