Labour deputy leader Tom Watson of the Labour Party has clashed with the shadow chancellor over a second Scottish independence referendum.
Mr Watson said on Sunday night Labour would strongly oppose a second vote following remarks made by John McDonnell, who said the party would not block proposals should they be put forward by Holyrood.
His comments come as former prime minister Gordon Brown warned the UK could “sleepwalk into” a split because of the rise in “toxic nationalism” as the current Prime Minister Boris Johnson continues on the path to a no-deal Brexit.
Mr Watson said: “In 2017 our Labour manifesto opposed a second referendum as ‘unwanted and unnecessary’ and said ‘we will campaign tirelessly to ensure Scotland remains part of the UK’.
“We can see the mess caused by the prospect of the UK leaving the four decade-long union with Europe, imagine how much more disruptive it would be to break our three centuries-long Union of Scotland within the UK.
Leaving the UK would turbo-charge austerity in Scotland with the inevitable threat to 1000s of jobs. More nationalism, uncertainty, and division isn’t the answer. We need to reassert shared values of fairness and respect, and remember we can achieve far more together than apart. pic.twitter.com/2vmkQsLo3e
— Tom Watson (@tom_watson) August 11, 2019
“Labour opposes another referendum and the turbo-charged austerity in Scotland that leaving the UK would cause, with the inevitable threat to thousands of jobs and livelihoods.
“That is not because our society doesn’t need to change. It does, and badly.
“Almost a decade of austerity has left our public services on their knees and Brexit has damaged our economy and divided our communities. The future is uncertain.
“But another independence referendum is not the answer. More nationalism, more uncertainty, and more division is not the answer.”
Mr Brown, who was prime minister from 2007 to 2010, said in a Sunday newspaper nationalism was pulling the UK apart, driving it towards “an unprecedented economic calamity precipitated by a no-deal exit from the EU”.
The last Scottish politician to hold the title of prime minister, Mr Brown also targeted the SNP, saying it is peddling what it claims is a progressive, pro-European Scottish nationalism while ignoring what he says are the hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk if Scotland leaves the UK.