I AGREE with John McDonnell’s recent statement that holding a second referendum on independence is a matter for the Scottish Parliament if a majority of MSPs elected on a manifesto commitment vote to do so. As Mr McDonnell says, this is a matter of democracy. However, despite protestations from some Labour politicians to the contrary, it is also a restatement of existing, long-standing Scottish Labour Party policy. It may be current Scottish Labour policy to oppose a second referendum but it would not be policy to try and stop one using English votes in the UK Parliament.

In 1989 Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the STUC, the Scottish churches and civic Scotland agreed the Claim of Right which asserted the sovereignty of Scotland within the UK. It stated that the signatories acknowledge the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of government best suited to their needs and do hereby declare and pledge that in all our actions and deliberations their interests shall be paramount. The Claim of Right was launched at a historic ceremony in the General Assembly Hall in Edinburgh. I attended as Vice -Chairman of the Scottish Labour Party. It was signed by every Labour and Liberal Democrat MP who were currently serving, including Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling, except Tam Dalyell. The Claim of Right was the genesis for the 1997 Scotland Referendum which led to the re-establishment of the Scottish Parliament. The Claim of Rights was endorsed by the Annual Conference of the Scottish Labour Party and this position has never been rescinded.

This does not mean that Scottish Labour cannot campaign against independence in a referendum as they did in 2014, supporting the status quo or some form of devo max. However, I agree with our former First Minister, Henry McLeish that Scottish Labour must have positive and radical policies for a new constitutional settlement.

Richard Leonard passionately argues that the problems and solutions for working people are class-related and not those of national identity. He is right. But where and at what level those class solutions are applied are for voters to decide on tactical and other considerations. Working-class solidarity does not and never has ended at borders.

There is also a lot of hypocrisy from Labour MPs and MSPs who support a second referendum on Brexit but oppose a second referendum on independence, the democratic principles are the same.

I am a long-time supporter of devolution of power not just to the countries and regions of Britain but to communities. Our unwritten constitution is in desperate need of reform, a fairer voting system, abolition of the unelected House of Lords, an elected head of state with specified powers to hold ministers to account, and much more.

Bob Thomson, Past chairman/treasurer, Scottish Labour Party, Glasgow G4.

AS a "tribal" Labour voter who may never vote Labour again, could I suggest to Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, Diane Abbott, et al that they should consider leaving and, instead, take over an obscure student union somewhere far away and play their infantile games there, as this is clearly their level. This would allow the grown-ups a chance to revive a once-great party and provide a credible challenge to one of the worst governments in living history.

Jim White, Glasgow G41.

REGARDING the many letters you have published over recent days about the increasing woes of the Labour Party, I note that they invariably refer to "Scottish Labour" or even the "Scottish Labour Party", but according to the Electoral Commission, Labour in Scotland is registered merely as an accounting unit of the UK Labour Party.

It is hard to whip up enthusiasm for an accounting unit, and as Richard Leonard sits Miss Haversham-like in his branch office,amid the ruins of his expectations, he should admit that if he and his members have no aspirations for their Scottish accounting unit it is hardly surprising they have no aspirations for Scotland.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

THE SNP would like Scotland to leave the UK but remain in the EU. However, if Scotland left the UK, before or after the UK left the EU, then Scotland would be both outside the EU and outside the UK.

Most people would agree that for Scotland to prosper it must agree trading terms with both the rUK and the EU, possibly becoming an EU member state. I am told by nationalists that the UK Government does not care about Scottish interests. Nationalists portray Westminster as the villain. I’m then puzzled by the seemingly contradictory idea that somehow Westminster would be better disposed towards Scotland if it were to become independent. I would have thought a separate rUK would put its own interests first and at the expense of Scotland’s. While I’m sure Scotland could become an EU member, the terms of its joining are not decided by the people or the Government of Scotland, it would be on EU terms.

Outside both the UK and EU, Scotland would need to find secure trading partners and make trade agreements quickly. This is also the weakness in Brexit; it is not a strong negotiating position, even for a large country. The argument that Scotland has great natural assets that other countries will compromise their interests over is simply wrong. Except for niche brand luxury products, for example whisky, there is nothing that can be found in Scotland that cannot be sourced, cheaper and in greater quantity elsewhere, this includes financial services, energy, petrochemicals, timber and food.

I suggest it would be a serious mistake to leave the UK, even if the UK leaves the EU. There is little to be gained from compounding the current Brexit situation. If Scotland left the UK I think many people would be disappointed with the result.

James Reilly, Turriff.

CHRISTINE Grahame, SNP MSP ( Letters, August 9), displays selective memory loss. She should try to remember, had we voted Yes in 2014 we would be out of both the UK and EU by now. We voted to stay part of the UK in the full knowledge there was to be a later UK-wide vote to remain or leave the EU.

This was not a four-part membership of the EU so collectively the UK voted Leave. Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon were quite happy to drag Scotland out and Leave both unions.

Scotland’s votes in several previous General elections have determined what colour of government sat in Westminster without feigned outrage from the losing voters in England. You can’t always get what you want, that is democracy at work. To use the SNP’s own warped logic, the Kingdom of Fife, Orkney and Shetland Isles, and the Lord of the (Hebridean) Isles could all cry “Freedom” and demand independence.

Allan Thompson, Bearsden.