North Labour leader says Scotland should go it alone

Former Mayor of Carlisle said a yes vote would encourage devolution in the North and in the rest of the UK

AP Photo/Scott Heppell A Saltire with Yes printed on it flies in Dunbar, Scotland
A Saltire with Yes printed on it flies in Dunbar, Scotland

A former Labour mayor and trade union figure from the north of England has urged people in Scotland to vote for independence.

Craig Johnston, the former mayor of Carlisle, says a Yes vote will “energise the debate about devolution” across the UK.

Mr Johnston, a regional organiser for the RMT union, also hopes a new constitution in an independent Scotland will implement workers’ rights and “instil a bit of fairness in the workplace”.

Criticising the Labour Party, he said: “I don’t want the Labour Party to be like it is.

“I can’t support a Labour Party that introduced the private finance initiative and let the moneylenders into the NHS - Nye Bevan’s temple.

“This is the party that oversaw the crisis, bailed out the bankers and started selling off the NHS. These are the people who are trying to scare us now.”

Dennis Canavan, chair of Yes Scotland’s advisory board, said: “This is yet more evidence of the breadth and sheer energy of the Yes campaign.

“Craig Johnston is a highly-respected civic and political figure in Carlisle, which of course sits very close to the border and for centuries has had strong links with Scotland.”

Steve Bowditch, current Labour mayor of the city disagreed and said a Yes vote would be “extremely damaging for Carlisle”.

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