Former Labour Minister says he’s backing Yes

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  By a Newsnet reporter

A former Labour party minister has urged Scottish voters to back a Yes vote in September’s independence referendum, saying the independence message was “positive and aspirational” whilst that of the No campaign was “very, very negative”.

Peter Kilfoyle said a Yes vote would allow Scots to make decisions for themselves and would also help the regions of England.

Responding to the former Labour Minister’s endorsement of a Yes vote, First Minister Alex Salmond – who was in Liverpool to deliver a speech – said:

“Peter Kilfoyle is a Labour stalwart, and a much respected figure. This is a significant endorsement for the independence campaign – and it shows that a Yes vote is in line with traditional Labour values.

“Peter understands that what is happening in Scotland is a catalyst for change elsewhere.  We’ve now had a range of key Labour figures endorsing Yes.

“There is a real feeling of how important this is for all – not just in Scotland.”

In his speech, Mr Salmond said: “The UK now has the highest levels of regional inequality in the European Union.

“Scottish independence will provide a powerful example for those elsewhere in the UK, who are looking at how to change the current system; who want to see a model of growth which is fairer, more sustainable and more resilient than the one being pursued at Westminster.”

He added: “The Scottish Government has a national economic forum which meets twice a year. It brings together government, businesses, the third sector, the wider public sector and the trade unions.

“We have promised that the first forum to be held after the referendum in September will focus on rebalancing the economy, including co-operation with the north of England.

“We are inviting representatives from local authorities and business organisations in the north of England to participate.

“It builds on initiatives at local authority level – where councils in Carlisle, Cumbria and Northumberland are working with Scottish local authorities to take forward shared opportunities in enterprise, tourism and transport.

“It is a practical demonstration of co-operation and partnership – a partnership which will be strengthened further by an outward looking, prosperous and independent Scotland.”

Mr Kilfoyle also claimed the Scottish Labour party was motivated by a desire to keep as many MPs at Westminster as it could.

Kilfoyle becomes the second Labour figure from south of the border to back independence after George Mudie, who is the MP for Leeds East, told the BBC he would vote Yes of he lived in Scotland.

In June, Mr Mudie, who was born in Scotland said: “If I were in Scotland I would be voting for an independent Scotland.  The opportunity should be given, and is being given, to people in Scotland to say ‘do you want to be independent?'”

Meanwhile it has also emerged that former leader of the National Union of Mineworkers, Arthur Scargill, has criticised the Scottish Labour Party, accusing it of having abandoned its socialist roots.

In a tweet, Mr Scargill said: “Having observed the way Scottish Labour have dealt with the independence debate, it is clear they are no longer socialists.”