Sarwar slates 'funny kind of independence'

THE SNP's plan for Scotland if there is a Yes vote in the referendum is "a funny kind of independence", says Scottish Labour's deputy leader.

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Glasgow Central MP Anas Sarwar slammed the Scottish Government's proposals in the White Paper and said they would mean handing back the very powers of independence it was arguing for.

In a speech on the closing day of the Scottish Labour Party conference in Perth, Mr Sarwar continued the theme of other senior party figures over the weekend, saying it was the party of social justice.

He said the SNP had backed the wrong side over corporation tax over the top rate of income tax and on extending the Living Wage to private sector workers through procurement rules.

Mr Sarwar said: "The choice on the 18th of September is now clear: it's devolution versus separation; it's social justice versus nationalism.

"And I'm confident with your help devolution and social justice will win.

He said Labour was the party of devolution, citing the party's history within the UK with Scottish figures from Keir Hardie to John Smith and Donald Dewar.

He added: "Together we can make sure that proud story does not end with Alex Salmond."

He went on to criticise the First Minister and the SNP, whom he said were trying to tell people that much would be the same under independence.

He said: "They insist, 'we'll keep the pound, keep the Bank Of England, keep your pension, keep the Queen, keep the BBC'.

"It's a funny kind of independence that argues for the rapid dismantling of everything the UK stands for followed by an equally rapid resurrection of everything we have just dismantled."

Mr Sarwar added the decisions that affected the economy, interest rates and mortgages would be handed over to the rest of the UK.

He added: "There would be no Scottish voice in the room when decisions are being taken - a giving up of sovereignty and an abdication of power to the government of another country. A funny sort of independence indeed."

Scottish Labour has looked to position itself to the left of the SNP and represent the voters Labour lost at previous elections.

stewart. paterson@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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