The former newspaper editor behind The Vow published days before 2014’s Scottish independence referendum has said he now supports leaving the UK, in a move hailed as “hugely significant” by Nicola Sturgeon.
Murray Foote, who led the Daily Record when it ran its famous front page promise of more powers for Scotland in the wake of a No vote, said Brexit had changed his mind.
The Vow, signed by the then Prime Minister David Cameron, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and Labour leader Ed Miliband, was published two days before the referendum took place.
Although a major study three years ago found it did not change the result of the vote, it led to the creation of the Smith Commission and the devolution of significant new powers to Scotland.
Mr Foote, who stood down as editor of the Record in March, said the UK Government had show “blatant contempt” for devolution by refusing to properly debate the EU Withdrawal Bill.
The crucial legislation’s impact on the devolved nations was debated for less than 20 minutes on Tuesday evening before being voted through, triggering fury from the SNP.
Writing in the Times, Mr Foote said: “I can no longer stand by while a cabal of the privileged deprive our sons and daughters the right to live in 27 European countries because they don’t like Johnnie Foreigner encroaching their elite club.
“I can’t remain silent as [Theresa] May, [David] Davis, [Jacob] Rees-Mogg, [Boris] Johnson and [Michael] Gove undermine the stability of a continent that has largely been at peace for 70 years.”
Mr Foote admitted that an independent Scotland would face “financial challenges” in the years after a Yes vote.
“The difficult decisions our independent nation would face and the sacrifices we may need to make do trouble me,” he wrote.
“But what troubles me more is the prospect of bequeathing to my daughters an isolated Britain governed indefinitely by the progeny of Rees-Mogg and their ilk.
“I have reconciled that independence would herald good and bad. I trust in us to solve the problems that will come our way. If so many other countries can, it is inconceivable that Scotland can’t.”
He concluded that were there to be another independence referendum, he would “strap on my work boots and take that leap” to support the campaign.
His decision was immediately welcomed by the Scottish First Minister, who said she was “delighted” to hear of his change of heart.
Ms Sturgeon’s husband, the SNP chief executive Peter Murrell, described it as “big and very welcome news”.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney added: “I applaud his willingness to take the next step on the journey and we should persuade others to follow his lead.”