ANAS Sarwar has been told he must make it clear how Scotland can choose its own constitutional future following comments he made on BBC’s Debate Night.

In a letter from Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater, the Scottish Labour leader has been told that his party has “joined with the Tories in opposing all attempts for Scotland to hold a referendum”.

During the debate, Sarwar (below) said that “it’s for the Scottish people to decide what the future of our country is” although refused to be drawn on a question from Slater on whether Labour would allow another referendum.

(Image: PA)

Sarwar ignored the question and said the election was about “getting rid of this rotten Tory government”.

Following the programme, Slater said: “In last night’s debate, Anas Sarwar rightly said that it is for the people of Scotland to decide the future of our country, but words are not enough.

“The Labour Party have opposed all attempts for Scotland to hold a democratic referendum on our future in the aftermath of Brexit and has not said a word about how a UK Labour government would allow Scotland to make a choice.”

She added: “I believe that Scotland could do so much more with the powers of a normal independent country.

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“It would allow us to take urgent climate action that is necessary to protect our future, and to tackle the shame of child poverty.

“We may disagree about independence, Anas Sarwar and his Labour colleagues can oppose that all they want.

“It is a question of democracy. It is time for Scottish Labour to come clean, level with the Scottish people and explain how and when they will allow us to have our say on the future of our country.”

Elsewhere in the debate, Sarwar came in for criticism from an audience member who told the MSP “you’re acting as if you’re gonna be the saviour of the British public when you’re gonna be exactly like the Tories”.


Dear Anas Sarwar

I enjoyed debating with you at the BBC leader’s debate last night. During the discussion on independence, you said “it is for the Scottish people to decide what the future of our country is.”

I agree with you, but you have not said anything about how people in Scotland can make their choice known.

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In Scottish elections in 2016 and 2021 the people of Scotland have elected pro-independence majorities to Holyrood, from parties who were explicitly elected on the pledge of holding a referendum on Scottish independence.

We have done the same in general elections in 2015, 2017 and 2019.

Yet the Labour Party has joined with the Tories in opposing all attempts for Scotland to hold a referendum in that time. I am sure you will agree that a lot has changed since 2014.

We have had 10 more years of Tory misrule that Scotland rejected, including a financial crisis that was created in Downing Street and led to skyrocketing inflation and interest rates.

We have had a Brexit that Scotland opposed, which has seen prices rising, put up barriers for small businesses all over our country and curbed all of our rights to live, study and travel across Europe. I know that you do not support independence, but this is about democracy.

If you believe in democracy and the right of the people of Scotland to decide our own future then you have to be clear about how Scotland can make that choice. What process would you recognise?

Under what circumstances would a future Labour government support Scotland’s right to hold a democratic referendum?

Many thanks,

Lorna Slater
Co-leader, Scottish Greens