LABOUR leadership candidate Lisa Nandy has claimed the UK should "look to Catalonia" for lessons on how to defeat Scottish nationalism.

Earlier this week the Wigan MP spoke of her plan for an "international commission" created by and for the Scottish people, which would aim to learn from examples in other countries where "the cause of social justice has beaten divisive nationalism".

She did not give any examples of times where "social justice has beaten divisive nationalism" or clarify what an international commission would involve. 

The comments caused uproar in both Scotland and Catalonia where Spanish police stormed polling stations after the government staged an independence referendum in October 2017.

The brutal crackdown saw hundreds of Catalans injured, political leaders receive lengthy jail sentences and the Catalan President Carles Puigdemont go into exile.


THE 40-year-old was selected as the Labour parliamentary candidate for Wigan constituency in February 2010 from an all-women shortlist. In 2010 she became the constituency's first female MP and one of the first Asian female MPs. She was shadow charities minister from 2012 to 2015 and shadow energy secretary from 2015 to 2016.

READ MORE: Lisa Nandy proposes 'international commission' against independence

Following Labour's General Election defeat in May 2015 and Ed Miliband's resignation as party leader, there was speculation in the media that Nandy would stand in the leadership election.

Nandy was also mentioned as someone who could replace Jeremy Corbyn as leader before the 2017 General Election. She left Corbyn’s shadow cabinet after the 2016 referendum, amid a series of resignations. 

She spoke of the abuse she had received for not supporting Corbyn, which she said left her "genuinely frightened".

Nandy won 31 nominations from Labour MPs and MEPs on Monday, making her one of five leadership contenders in the leadership race. She is standing against Jess Phillips, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry


THEY provoked an outcry both in Scotland and Catalonia.

The First Minister was asked about the remarks in a television interview on Wednesday night.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Neil show, she said: “Socialists have been beaten over and over again by nationalists and the idea that we have all the answers in the Labour Party, I’m sorry there isn’t a single person who believes that."

National columnist Pat Kane hit out at Nandy's suggestion, tweeting: "What is she doing, standing in Dagenham, announcing this?? It’s utterly deaf to the open character of modern Scotland nationalism, and utterly blind to the British nationalism of UKLab. Complete duffers, the lot of them #LabourLeadership"

And Sunday National contributor and academic Gerry Hassan said the plan was "drivel".

He wrote: "Labour leadership drivel at a time of UKanian, Scottish & Northern Irish constitutional crisis. And understand your own history: 1945, left patriotism & that Labour is a nationalist party."

Catalan Valentina Servera, who is president of the European Free Alliance Youth, described the comments as "threatening and intimidating".

READ MORE: Catalan's letter to Lisa Nandy: You've opened the door to police brutality

Columnist Ian Macwhirter posted: "Lisa Nandy on @afneil ... 'We should look outwards to other countries where they've had to deal with divisive nationalism...in places like like Catalonia'. So broken heads, riot police and locking up elected politicians. Someone tell me I misheard, please."

And The Skotia reporter Michael Gray wrote: "Labour leadership candidate Lisa Nandy says she wants to "beat" independence in Scotland by following Spain's treatment of Catalonia - where state police attacked voters at polling stations & Catalan political & civic leaders were jailed. More in common with Franco than Hardie."


POLITICAL journalists in Westminster were bizarrely impressed by Nandy's interview with Andrew Neil.

The New Statesman's political editor, Stephen Bush, said: "Her ideas-led campaign is winning the war as far as the battle for elite opinion goes: wowing the lobby with her performance in front of Andrew Neil ... and emerging as the second-strongest candidate in the parliamentary Labour party."

Tom Peck described Nandy as "sharp, articulate, charismatic and clever" in The Independent.

And writing in the i paper, Jane Merrick said Nandy "is emerging as the dark horse in the race".


AFTER being asked to clarify her comments by Nicola Sturgeon and others she wrote an explanation into a blog post.

Nandy wrote that the UK should "win the battle with divisive nationalism".

She added: "Labour has always stood for solidarity between peoples and nations. A solidarity based on values not expedience. Solidarity which, at times, we have been prepared to fight to defend, and must again. It is through our social justice identity that I believe we can win the battle with divisive nationalism but I do not believe that we have all the answers here in the UK in how this can be achieved. We must seek out the lessons from the brief moments in history when this has happened internationally, and from where our sister movements are still winning.

"Socialists in Catalonia have for years been peacefully resisting the advance of separatists there, and most recent indications suggest that their democratic efforts may well succeed. There are hopeful signs their approach of socialism and solidarity — which stands in stark contrast to the unjustified violence we saw from the Spanish police operating under the instruction of Spain’s then right wing Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy — may yet win out."