Scottish independence: ‘convert’ Dennis Canavan joins the fight
former Scottish Labour MP Dennis Canavan will be among the keynote speakers at the launch of the Yes campaign as he insisted that he was a “convert” to independence.
Mr Canavan, who was expelled from Labour after 26 years as an MP, said that his appearance at today’s rally was the “biggest event” he had attended since his retirement from front-line politics.
The veteran left-winger, who was also an independent MSP for eight years, went on to say that he was backing the campaign, despite opposing the SNP’s stance of wanting to keep the monarchy in an independent Scotland.
Mr Canavan will be joined by another left-winger at the rally, after former Scottish Socialist party MSP Colin Fox agreed to attend the event.
Mr Fox, who was a Lothians MSP between 2003 and 2007, and will not be among the speakers on the campaign platform, said: “We’ll have a contingent of about 30 to 40 people there.”
Meanwhile, Mr Canavan, who has previously endorsed SNP candidates, insisted that independence would be a “big step forward” for left-wing politics and social justice.
He said: “I’ve been asked to speak and to be on the platform. I’m a convert to the cause of independence.
“This will be the biggest event that I’ve attended for many years and my conversion is because of my experience of 26 years at the Westminster parliament and eight years at the Scottish Parliament.
“The Scottish Parliament would be able to respond more readily to the values of Scots if it had full powers and was able to fully tackle the challenges facing Scotland.
“I don’t agree with every dot and comma of SNP policy and, when it comes to the party’s support for the retention of the monarchy, I strongly disagree.
“But I still think that an independent Scotland would be a big step forward”
The former Falkirk West MP went on to say that he was “willing to help out” in the Yes campaign in the run-up to the referendum in autumn 2014.
Mr Canavan has previously said that full independence would deliver “higher standards of social justice” as he insisted that Holyrood’s track record on issues such as free prescriptions and free personal care bolstered the case for a split with the UK.
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