Labour’s Angela Eagle has labelled the SNP’s push for a second Scottish independence referendum “an opportunistic thing” that plays to “the politics of grievance”.
Speaking on BBC’s Question Time, the MP and one-time leadership contender said Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was being “mischievous” to push for the vote amid the disarray of Brexit.
Earlier in the day, Theresa May ruled out allowing Sturgeon to hold a referendum in 2018-19. The prime minister said “now is not the time” for another vote, putting the UK government on a collision course with the administration in Edinburgh. Sturgeon said it was “undemocratic” for May to block a referendum.
On Monday, Scotland’s first minister announced she planned to attempt to trigger a second referendum on the break-up of the UK before the Brexit process is complete.
On the flagship BBC politics show, Eagle said:
“We are divided enough as it is, and I think this is an opportunistic thing that Nicola Sturgeon has done.
“The politics of grievance are not going to help us come together and try to make the best deal for Brexit negotiations for all of the countries of the United Kingdom and the regions.”
She added mischievous to say the least.”
But one SNP MP suggested Eagle was “misguided”:
The SNP committed to another vote if there was a “material change” in circumstances, which is what many believe Brexit represents. The point was made by Joanna Cherry, an SNP frontbencher appearing on the show.
Eagle also made clear Labour was against a second referendum after Jeremy Corbyn last week suggested he was relaxed about a second vote.
Panellists on the show, broadcast from Bognor Regis and presented by David Dimbleby, included Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, Labour’s Angela Eagle, Joanna Cherry of the SNP, The Times journalist Matthew Parris and Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin.