FORMER Labour MP Dennis Canavan has insisted that Scottish independence would lead to a “renaissance” for the party and revive it following a series of disastrous election defeats at the hands of the SNP.
Mr Canavan, a Labour MP for 26 years, said he “might” even rejoin the party that expelled him in the late 1990s, if there was an independent Scotland.
The former MSP, now chair of the Yes campaign for independence, said that one of his tasks would be to target Labour voters to try to win them over to independence. He claimed that there were large numbers of Labour voters who back independence and said they could help swing the result in favour of a Yes vote in 2014.
“There are Labour diehards who will always vote Labour and would never vote SNP, but who can be convinced to vote Yes in the referendum on independence,” he said.
Mr Canavan promised to “mobilise” his contacts in the party and to lobby Labour supporters at conferences and trade union events in the run-up to the referendum in 2014.
His intervention came after the launch of a campaign among Labour members for independence and former Scottish Labour chairman Bob Thomson saying that if he was “pushed into a corner” between the status quo and a split with the UK, then he would support independence to avoid Conservative policies.
Mr Canavan said that part of his job as Yes campaign chairman would involve attempting to “woo” Labour activists and voters who he said may back independence to avoid being ruled by Tory governments at Westminster.
He said: “There are a considerable number of Labour supporters and activists who may consider voting for independence.”