Independence for Scotland could revive Labour north of the border, one of the party’s ex-MPs declared.
Dennis Canavan said if Scots voted to leave the UK it could “turn out the best thing ever to happen to the Scottish Labour Party”.
Now the chairman of pro-independence campaign group Yes Scotland’s advisory board, he argued that would allow the party in Scotland to become independent of UK Labour.
Scots will vote on independence in a referendum in autumn 2014 and Mr Canavan said: “An independent Scotland could lead to a revival of Scottish Labour as many of its problems stem from the fact it has been ‘de-radicalised’ through its ties to London.
“An independent Scotland would mean an independent Scottish Labour Party free to determine its own agenda in accordance with the values and aspirations of Scottish people.”
Mr Canavan spoke out at the first conference of Labour for Independence.
The event, in Glasgow, included speeches from Deacon Blue singer Ricky Ross, and Jeane Freeman, adviser to ex-Labour first minister Jack McConnell.
Labour for Independence was founded by party member Allan Grogan, who had “looked on in a daze at the Scottish Labour Party’s lurch to the right”.
He said the party was “flagrantly disregarding the fundamental core of our values on free healthcare and education”.
Blair Jenkins, chief executive of the cross-party Yes Scotland group, urged other Labour supporters to join the “growing independence family”.
Mr Jenkins said: “Like most large families, we have a diverse range of characters with different personalities and ideas but who share the core principle of an independent Scotland taking responsibility for our own decisions and shaping our own future.”
Meanwhile, Ms Freeman said since devolution Scotland had been “more than capable of making decisions that are profoundly in tune with who we are and what we believe”.
“That experience of seeing how well we can govern ourselves, and how much more we could do with all the powers a country should have, has convinced me independence is the right choice for all of us.”