SCOTTISH Labour members are rebelling against a decision taken by the party’s ruling body over discussions about a new policy on Scotland’s future.

Several constituency Labour parties (CLPs) have invited frontbencher Alex Rowley to speak to them on the issue following his criticism of the Scottish executive committee (SEC)’s decision to reject a plan by Richard Leonard to engage the membership and hold a special conference on the issue in the spring.

The development was seen as a victory for the pro-Union side of the party, whose members include MSP Jackie Baillie, a senior SEC member.

Rowley, who is the party’s Brexit spokesman and a former deputy leader, yesterday took to Twitter to warn about siding again with the Tories following the decision to join forces with them in the 2014 Better Together campaign.

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He wrote “I have to say I don’t get why the Labour SEC are so reluctant to allow our membership to determine our vision and way forward for Scotland. Too many of them still think Better Together standing alongside the Tories is the best way forward.”

The National: Alex Rowley spoke for Better Together five years ago, but sees its not working this time aroundAlex Rowley spoke for Better Together five years ago, but sees its not working this time around

Speaking to The National, Rowley said the membership must be allowed to discuss the issue of Scotland’s future to come to a clear new position. He said he had been invited to speak to members.

“I think most members will be very disillusioned that the Scottish executive committee don’t seem to see the urgency of us engaging the membership,” he said.

“My understanding is that Richard Leonard was proposing an engagement with the membership right through February and then eventually moving to having a conference and reaching a decision. Richard Leonard is absolutely right. There are big decisions that need to be made and those decisions need to be made through the democratic processes of the party not by small groups of MSPs or executive members. Those days are gone – that’s what delivered Better Together.”

He added: “CLPs are already organising meetings. I’ve been invited to speak at a few CLPs on the question of Scotland’s future. The membership are ahead of the executive.”

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The issue of Scotland’s future and a new plebiscite dominated the General Election in Scotland with the SNP winning 48 MPs after campaigning for a referendum. The Scottish Tories lost seven of its 13 MPs after opposing a new vote.

The National: Ian Murray is Labour's last MP in ScotlandIan Murray is Labour's last MP in Scotland

In a disastrous result, Scottish Labour were left with a single MP. Richard Leonard’s original policy was to oppose a second vote, but modified the position after shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Labour would not block a new vote. Since the General Election Labour has been embroiled in a fresh debate about Scotland.

MSPs Monica Lennon and Neil Findlay have argued the party should not oppose a second independence vote – a position backed by leadership contender Clive Lewis. Rival candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey yesterday said the issue should be up to the Scottish Parliament.

Last week former Labour cabinet minister Ben Bradshaw said he was “100% certain” Scotland will become independent.

In December former Scottish Labour MPs Ged Killen and Paul Sweeney and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities’ president, Alison Evison, all voiced support for Scotland’s right to hold an independence referendum.

Nicola Sturgeon has already written to Prime Boris Johnson requesting powers to hold a referendum be transferred to Holyrood.

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SNP Depute Leader Keith Brown MSP said: “It is welcome that growing numbers of senior figures and members across the Labour Party are getting behind a fresh referendum with many backing independence. This is a crunch moment for Scottish Labour – instead of siding with the Tories again, and sliding further into irrelevance – they can back a referendum and help Scotland escape Brexit and another decade of Tory rule.

“The SNP will continue to work across parties to ensure Scotland has a choice – so we can stay at the heart of Europe and build a fairer future as an independent country.”