By a Newsnet reporter
News that an Edinburgh Councillor has defected from the Labour party over its stance on independence has been welcomed by the SNP who today hailed it as further proof that a Yes vote is drawing support from across Scotland.
In a surprise announcement, Alex Lunn has confirmed he has quit the Labour party in order to help campaign for independence.
In a statement, the councillor for the Craigentinny/Duddingston area said he had been persuaded of the need for independence and wanted to campaign for a Yes vote.
He said: “for over a year now I have been feeling the best way forward for Scotland is to become an independent country.
“And the only way I can really campaign for independence is to join the SNP. Labour has made it clear it wants Scotland to stay part of the Union and as a Labour councillor you are expected to adhere to that.”
He added: “The SNP is now more in line with my political views than Labour.”
Councillor Lunn’s decision to join the SNP means that SNP representation on Edinburgh City Council has now increased to 18 councillors.
Commenting, SNP MSP for Edinburgh Eastern Kenny MacAskill said:
“The news that Councillor Lunn has decided to join the SNP and campaign for a Yes vote next year is extremely welcome.
“It is further proof that the case for an independent Scotland is drawing in support from across Scotland, as more and more people share our vision for what we can achieve with a Yes vote.
“It is also a firm demonstration that the SNP is on the side of the people when it comes to the social contract policies our citizens rely on.
“Where Johann Lamont’s Cuts Commission is determined to take the axe to vital services, the SNP is protecting key measures like free prescriptions, care for the elderly and extra police officers to protect Scotland’s communities.
“That is why people across Scotland are continuing to back the SNP and the policies we are continuing to deliver.”
Speaking to the Herald newspaper, Andrew Burns, the Labour leader of Edinburgh City Council spoke of his shock at the decision.
“I’m bitterly disappointed that Alex has chosen to leave the Scottish Labour Party.
“Alex has never raised his ‘apparent’ support for independence with myself, or any group colleagues, and thus his decision to defect has come completely out of the blue.”
The news is a severe blow to Johann Lamont’s Scottish Labour party and comes on the eve of a by-election to be held tomorrow in Glasgow Shettleston which was brought about by the sudden death of Labour councillor George Ryan.
The Shettleston ward is a Labour stronghold and the party has been taking no chances with several big hitters, including Scottish Labour deputy leader Anas Sarwar, Shadow Scottish Secretary Margaret Curran and Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander joining several Labour MSPs on the campaign trail.
[Newsnet Scotland will now begin the process of slowing down as we approach Christmas. Visitors may notice fewer news stories and reduced turnover over the coming days.
However we can reveal that this week will see the third instalment of Duggy Dug, this time looking at the pound – a timely subject for our animated character and a belter of an animation.
As we approach Christmas look out also for our ‘Dirty Dozen’ feature article that will list the twelve worst examples of questionable broadcasts from BBC Scotland. If you have someone who believes the BBC is impartial then this article will open their eyes.
This coming week will also see the BBC Trust reveal its decision on the BBC’s handling of the Lucinda Creighton episode.
Newsnet Scotland, despite being in festive slowdown, will bring you the decision first and will also reveal all of the evidence as submitted by the BBC. We are sure it will prove fascinating reading.]