A FORMER Labour shadow chancellor has insisted a second Scottish independence referendum should be granted by Westminster if Scots say they want one through their own parliament.

Unionist John McDonnell - who has been a Labour MP since 1997 - was quizzed on BBC Radio Scotland on Sunday about whether he felt Scotland should be handed another vote by Keir Starmer if the Labour leader becomes prime minister.

And he said that if the Scottish people determine they want another say through Holyrood, then Westminster should not be blocking a referendum.

He told the programme: “I’ve always said - and sometimes it’s got me into trouble with some people in the Labour party - but I’ve always said if the Scottish people determine themselves through their own parliament that they want a referendum then Westminster should not block it.

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“I think tactically and politically it would be wrong as well [to block it] because it would simply make more people in Scotland pretty angry and therefore in favour of independence.”

Asked if he would like Starmer to grant a referendum if that is the will of the Scottish people, he said: “That’s been my consistent view. I can’t see any other route really.

“If the Westminster parliament continues to block it, it alienates even more people and pushes them on the side of independence.”

Insisting he remained in favour of Scotland staying part of the UK, McDonnell - who was shadow chancellor under Jeremy Corbyn - added he felt if a referendum was held now, the No side would win again.

It comes after Corbyn said he hoped there would be a referendum on Scottish independence "soon" and that a future Labour government would support it. 

Throughout the interview McDonnell was also critical of Labour’s economic policy, insisting they need to be more ambitious.

Labour have been extremely cautious in outlining spending commitments and have put “stable public finances and prudent spending” at the heart of their offer for the 2024 manifesto, according to the party’s new National Policy Forum document.  

McDonnell said he understood their caution but people will expect them to be more radical.

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He said: “People look around them and the way their standard of living has been hit over the last 13 years of austerity and I think people realise you need more radical solutions to the problems we face because the problems are so immense.

“One of the arguments I’m trying to put forward with the Labour party is we need to face up to the scale of the problems we’ll inherit and I don’t think any Labour government, apart from the Atley government after the second world war, has ever inherited such a mess and therefore people are thinking well you need to do more than you’re saying at the moment.

“They will expect Labour to demonstrate within the first term breaking the back of the problems. It does need Labour to be more ambitious than they are at the moment.”

McDonnell has previously accused the Labour leadership of allowing a “right-wing faction” to become “drunk with power” and attempt to “destroy” the left of the party.

McDonnell was also asked about whether he felt the Scottish Labour party should disagree with the UK Labour party on policy, after former first minister Jack McConnell expressed last week to the BBC that the party north of the Border should never be afraid to go its own way.

McDonnell said: “If we believe in devolution, when you’re elected as leader of the Labour Party in Scotland, you speak for Scotland. That’s the whole point and if there’s a disagreement, have an honest disagreement. Be authentic, stand up for the Scottish people.”