Richard Leonard to back second Brexit referendum after EU vote
SCOTTISH Labour leader Richard Leonard has signalled he is ready to back a second referendum in the wake of his party’s humiliating performance in the European elections.
Labour lost both its Scottish MEPs, including long-serving party’s David Martin, as the SNP won 38 per cent of the votes to take three out of the six seats for Scotland in the European Parliament.
Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party won a seat in Scotland, the Lib Dems doubled their vote to claim one and the Tories hung onto theirs despite a drop in support.
Mr Martin blamed Labour’s lack of a clear message for the result.
And two Labour MPs made an outspoken attack on UK party leader Jeremy Corbyn and Mr Leonard over the election.
Edinburgh South’s Ian Murray and East Lothian colleague Martin Whitfield accused Mr Corbyn of personally handing victory to Nigel Farage by refusing to back a second referendum.
In a joint article for the Evening News, they said the two leaders had ignored the membership and what voters were saying. “It was their election campaign and their mess. They stuck their heads in the Brexit sand because they can’t lead. We have paid the price for their failure and we have been wiped off the electoral map.”
They added the result should be “an urgent wake-up call for Richard Leonard, deputy leader Lesley Laird and campaigns manager Neil Findlay”.
In a radio interview later . Mr Leonard said: “What we need to do is regroup, take soundings and decide the lessons we need to learn.
“I’m more and more compelled to believe there should be a vote on whatever deal is facing parliament.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon hailed a “historic and spectacular victory” for the SNP and said it was an overwhelming rejection of Brexit by the Scottish people.
She said: “The message from Scotland today is that we will not accept a Brexit process that silences our nation, that treats our parliament and government with contempt and that fails to represent the interests of people in Scotland.”
New Brexit MEP Louis Stedman-Bryce said his party was a natural home for the million Scots who voted Leave. And he warned the other parties: “Look out we’re coming for you.”