THE SNP have called for Scottish Labour to clarify their increasingly “muddled” position on an independence referendum – after former deputy leader Alex Rowley said the party unequivocally “believes in the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine their own future”.

The party’s constitution spokesperson told BBC Scotland's Politics Scotland: “If you need powers in Scotland to be able to make decisions in Scotland, then why would you not have those powers?”

Polls show that four in 10 Labour voters support independence, with senior Labour figures such as former first minister Henry McLeish and Cosla president Alison Evison also backing Scotland’s right to hold a referendum.

SNP MP Gail Ross said: “This is one of the clearest expressions of support for Scottish independence to come from the Labour ranks to date.

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“With more and more sensible Labour voices speaking out in favour of a referendum, it’s clearer than ever that denying basic democracy to the people of Scotland is a completely unsustainable position.

“We already know that the Scottish Labour Party don’t like to answer tough questions on constitutional matters, because they’d rather join their Westminster bosses on the fence – but the time has come to clear up the party’s increasingly muddled position on independence.

“Polling shows people in Scotland back a referendum on their future – and it's entirely undemocratic and out of step with public opinion for any politician to say 'I know best' and stand in their way.

“Scotland no longer exists in a ‘union of equals,’ our interests cannot be properly served by a shambolic, crumbling Westminster system, and our best hope for the future lies in becoming an independent country.”