By Martin Kelly
Former Labour MP Dennis Canavan has given his backing to the campaign for Scottish independence saying that it would lead to “higher standards of social justice”.
The respected former MP, who was also an independent MSP, has offered to join the pro-independence campaign to achieve a Yes vote in the 2014 referendum.
A man of principle, Mr Canavan was controversially expelled by the Labour party 12 years ago. He also launched an attack on his former party accusing it of seeking the “preservation of the union ahead of social justice”.
According to the Scotsman newspaper, Mr Canavan also claimed that the Scottish Parliament was more responsive to the needs of Scots and described Westminster based Scottish MPs of being out of touch and living in a cocoon.
He said: “I’ll be voting ‘yes’ to independence. That’s based on my experience at Westminster and as an MSP that most politicians at Westminster ignore the people of Scotland.
“During my time in the Scottish Parliament I felt that it was much more democratic and responsive to the needs of the aspirations of the people of Scotland”
The comments were welcomed by the Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who said:
“Dennis Canavan is a widely respected figure, with a distinguished record of public service for his constituents and for Scotland over a period of many years.
“His positive comments about independence, and how with full welfare and financial powers we can build social justice in Scotland, are extremely welcome and will be influential in the debate on Scotland’s future.
“We believe that, like Dennis, a majority of Scots in the referendum will prefer home rule with independence to Tory rule from Westminster.”
The former Labour MP criticised the so called ‘devo-max’ option, claiming that people didn’t know what it meant, and said:
“It’s completely confusing to the electorate with all this devo-plus and devo-max. People know what independence means – that the Scottish Parliament has the same full powers as other parliaments.”