Former Blair minister backs Yes campaign’s ‘aspirational message’

First Minister Alex Salmond

First Minister Alex Salmond

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A former Labour defence minister has backed a Yes vote in the Scottish independence referendum.

Peter Kilfoyle, who served in Tony Blair’s government, said at the moment there was a “huge imbalance” in the UK between the “favoured” areas of London and the South East and the rest of the country.

A single damaged English flag "The Cross of St. George" flies amongst a row of Scottish "Saltire" flags during a gale at Stracathro in eastern Scotland, Saturday Jan. 13, 2007. With barely the raising of a glass, Scotland is preparing to mark 300 years since accepting the Treaty of Union with England - which bound two countries together and gave the world Great Britain. The anniversary Tuesday of the Scottish parliament's voting to accept the treaty is focusing attention on growing discord, with advocates of Scottish independence gaining strength in their campaign for a referendum on breaking the union.  (AP Photo/Martin Cleaver)

A single damaged English flag "The Cross of St. George" flies amongst a row of Scottish "Saltire" flags during a gale at Stracathro in eastern Scotland, Saturday Jan. 13, 2007. With barely the raising of a glass, Scotland is preparing to mark 300 years since accepting the Treaty of Union with England - which bound two countries together and gave the world Great Britain. The anniversary Tuesday of the Scottish parliament's voting to accept the treaty is focusing attention on growing discord, with advocates of Scottish independence gaining strength in their campaign for a referendum on breaking the union. (AP Photo/Martin Cleaver)

Mr Kilfoyle, who was MP for Liverpool Walton for almost 20 years, also claimed the “aspirational message” of the campaign for independence “was far more attractive than the negativity and scaremongering of the No lobby”.

He spoke out after he met Alex Salmond in Liverpool, with the Scottish First Minister in the English city to speak at the International Festival for Business.

Mr Salmond hailed the “significant endorsement” of the independence campaign from “Labour stalwart” Mr Kilfoyle.

The SNP leader said: “It shows that a Yes vote is in line with traditional Labour values.”

Mr Kilfoyle stated: “Scotland’s referendum debate is a timely reminder to the regions of England that we, too, have an issue with an overbearing London. There is a huge imbalance between a favoured London and its south-eastern hinterland, and the other regions and countries of these islands.”

He added: “Of course, the immediate case of the Scottish ballot is a matter for Scots to decide. However, it strikes me that the aspirational message of the Yes campaign is far more attractive than the negativity and scaremongering of the No lobby. I trust Scots will recall the wise words of Franklin D. Roosevelt – ‘the only thing we have to fear is fear itself’.

“As a Labour Party member for 50 years, hoping to do my bit to improve the lot of working people throughout the British Isles, it seems to me that a Scottish vote for independence will make Scots masters of their own destiny rather than dependent on the fiat of a London-based establishment. A Yes vote could also be the lever for a new constitutional settlement for the regions of England.”

 

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