The First Minister of Wales has said that no Labour leader should stand in the way of another Scottish independence referendum if it is what the people want.

Labour's Mark Drakeford told Sky News that no government or party should stand in the way of a new vote.

He said: “I am very clear that if a population in Scotland, or indeed in Wales, wanted to hold a referendum, it is for the people of Wales and the people of Scotland to make that decision. And then that decision must be respected.

“No Labour leader should argue that the component parts of the United Kingdom can be prevented from navigating a future for themselves.”

He added: “If the United Kingdom were to fracture then everybody will have to think about the way in what remains can go on working for everybody.

“I’ve never been much attracted to, sort of, ‘Rule Britannia’ British value sentimental argument to the United Kingdom unless you can make it work practically and demonstrate to people it makes a difference in their lives in the case has diminished, but I think you can make that practical case.”

However, speaking on the prospect of another independence referendum, Richard Leonard said: “I’m saying that we will be going into the elections for the Scottish Parliament next year on a manifesto platform saying we do not support a second independence referendum, and so we will seek to get a mandate from the people for that position.”

HeraldScotland:

READ MORE: Scottish Labour grandees call on Richard Leonard to resign as leader

It comes following mounting pressure on the Scottish Labour leader. 

On Thursday three Labour urged him to quit as leader of the Scottish party.

Former Scottish Secretary Helen Liddell, former Defence Secretary and NATO General Secretary George Robertson, and former MI6 officer Meta Ramsay said the party “urgently” needed a new face at the helm.

This week James Kelly resigned from Scottish Labour’s frontbench saying he no longer has confidence in Richard Leonard as party leader. 

Tory Welsh Secretary Simon Hart suggested rising support for independence was because the First Ministers of Wales and Scotland had been playing politics.

“The idea that Wales or Scotland or NI or England may do things differently because they can,” he said.

“I think that is quite frustrating if you happen to be a business, charity, family, or individual, which may particularly in Wales’ case, have significant cross-border interests.

READ MORE: James Kelly's damning resignation letter to Richard Leonard

“If you’re struggling to run a business and you may be in one of the border counties when you rely very heavily on cross-border activity, that can be intensely frustrating and give rise to people thinking that this is about politics. It’s not about Covid or economy.”

Earlier this week a poll revealed that more than half of all voters in Wales who backed Labour at the 2019 General Election would now back Welsh independence if a referendum was held.