Britain’s longest serving MEP has claimed Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale is “not unsympathetic” towards his new-found sympathy for Scottish independence.
David Martin has said he would consider voting for Scotland to leave the UK if Prime Minister Theresa May fails to secure what he considers a good Brexit deal.
He met Ms Dugdale on Monday, having said he will make a “pragmatic decision” on independence once the full impact of Britain quitting the European Union is clear.
Asked about his leader’s reaction to his position, he told The Herald: “Let’s say she’s not unsympathetic.”
It is understood that Ms Dugdale expressed her sympathy to Mr Martin’s frustration with Theresa May’s so-called hard Brexit plan, rather than voicing approval for secession.
Mr Martin acknowledged that Scotland currently trades far more with the rest of the UK than the EU, but said its fortunes may change after Brexit.
He added: “If it was October 2018 I would still vote against independence because you would not have all the facts.”
The Courier revealed last week that Mr Martin does not think Mrs May should allow Nicola Sturgeon to hold a second referendum until after the 2021 Holyrood elections so that voters are able to see what the UK’s future outside the EU looks like.
A Scottish Labour spokesman said: “Kez and David held a long-standing meeting yesterday morning. They are both firmly united in their opposition to the Tories’ reckless plans for a hard Brexit and share many people’s frustration with Theresa May’s approach.”
He added: “Both Kez and David have said there should not be a second independence referendum until there is clarity on what Brexit means. Kezia Dugdale has been clear that the Labour party she leads will never support independence.”
An SNP spokesman said: “It isn’t surprising that Kezia continues to mull over the independence question. Perhaps it is time for her to show leadership by confirming what many already suspect.”
Scottish Conservative chief whip John Lamont said: “This is yet further evidence of just how weak Labour is.”