Exclusive: Labour Holyrood candidate removed after indyref2 comments

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Hollie Cameron has been removed as a Labour MSP candidate for Glasgow Kelvin after suggesting that another independence vote could be held in the next parliamentary term, LabourList can reveal.

Picked to stand for Glasgow Kelvin last month ahead of the Holyrood elections taking place in May, Cameron had told the Sunday National that the timing of a fresh poll “should be when the public wants”.

“I think we can consider our constitution and rebuild after Covid if there is the political will to do that,” she said. “It is just a matter of whether you think we should have that in the next parliamentary term or not. I say why not?”

LabourList understands that Cameron was reinterviewed by a Labour Scottish executive committee interview panel and was not able to satisfy the party that she would follow the Scottish Labour group whip if elected as an MSP.

Cameron told LabourList: “I am disappointed in the SEC’s decision to withdraw support for my candidacy. As of 12pm today I have not received any confirmation in writing, given this I am hopeful that the Labour Party will reconsider.

“I have been very touched by the support I have received from my local party and party members. My position on another referendum has been clear for years and was clear throughout the selection process. I was selected by a large margin either because, or in spite of, my view.

“I am a dedicated campaigner who is loyal to the Labour Party and my home. Following the leadership election, Anas Sarwar stated that Scotland hadn’t had the Labour Party it deserves; I did and continue to believe I am the Labour candidate Glasgow Kelvin deserves.”

Update, 2pm: A spokesperson for Scottish Labour said: “Hollie Cameron was not able to satisfy an SEC interview panel that she would follow the Scottish Labour group whip if elected as an MSP, and the SEC panel has therefore withdrawn their endorsement of her candidacy, meaning that she is ineligible to be a Scottish Labour candidate. Arrangements will be put in place to fill the vacancy promptly.”

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, who was newly elected last month, has argued that a fresh independence referendum is not credible as the country rebuilds after the damaging coronavirus crisis.

Asked about Cameron’s comments at a press conference on Monday, Sarwar said: “We do not have the luxury of our party pulling apart at this time, when we actually need a unified Labour Party serious about rebuilding our country.

“We had a robust discussion, a robust debate, through the leadership election campaign around the referendum, and I won that leadership contest with a strong mandate – 61% of the membership – for the policy position.”

The new party leader told journalists: “It is a policy position, I should add, that is supported by our Scottish policy forum process and agreed by our Scottish executive committee, the democratic structures.”

He added: “We are going into this election seeking to unite our country, not to divide our country. We are going into this election making it about a Covid recovery parliament, not going back to the old arguments.

“That is the platform that Scottish Labour is standing on, that is the platform that I’ll be standing on as Scottish Labour leader, and that is the argument I’ll be making in the coming days, weeks and months.”

Neil Findlay MSP commented: “This is absolutely outrageous – Hollie Cameron was selected by members of her constituency, her views chime with many Labour voters and with the views expressed my myself, Monica Lennon and many members. What on earth is going on?”

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