East Lothian Labour Party has launched its local campaign on the Scottish referendum with a call to county residents to remain ‘united with Labour’ and reject the SNP’s bid to break up the United Kingdom.

Speaking at the Prestonpans Labour Party Club, Iain Gray MSP and Fiona O’Donnell MP said that the referendum is the biggest decision the people of Scotland have faced for 300 years and that strong Labour voices are needed to speak for the majority of Scots who believe we are better working together with our neighbours in the rest of the UK.

They highlighted some of the key reasons why they are at the forefront of the campaign to keep Scotland in the UK, and urged party activists to join them in campaigning for a firm no vote in September followed by a Labour victory at next year’s UK general election.

Councillor Willie Innes and other local Labour councillors also made it clear that they are fully behind the party’s support for the UK and will be working hard for a no vote in the communities they represent.

Speaking after the meeting, Fiona O’Donnell MP said:

“Labour’s vision for the future of the United Kingdom is one grounded in social justice and fairness. We don’t believe in turning our backs on those in Northern Ireland, Wales and England who share our values. I understand that some Labour supporters feel disheartened about the direction the UK is headed in at the moment because of the damaging policies of the Tory-led coalition. I share that frustration.

“However, anyone tempted by the empty promises of the SNP and Yes campaign should remember that this vote is not about getting rid of the Tories, but rather making a fundamental  decision on Scotland’s long term future. By rejecting separatism in September and voting for a UK Labour Government in 2015, people in East Lothian can help to ensure a fairer future for everyone in Scotland and the rest of the UK.”

Iain Gray MSP said:

“We define our politics by the values and principles of the Labour movement – solidarity, fairness, equality, community and social justice – rather than national identity. That is why, both locally and nationally, the Labour Party is united in its opposition to the SNP’s plans to separate Scotland from the rest of the UK.

“The vast majority of Labour members and supporters recognise that we currently have the best of both worlds, with a strong devolved Scottish Parliament taking decisions on most of the day to day issues that Scots are concerned about, and a UK Parliament allowing us to pool and share resources with our neighbours. We will be promoting the many benefits of this arrangement, as well as highlighting ways it can be strengthened.”

Pat O’Brien, East Lothian Labour’s Vice-Chair, Campaigns, said:

“East Lothian Labour has a fantastic track record on campaigning and winning elections. We will continue to take our positive message on Scotland’s future out to communities across East Lothian and explain why Labour believes we are better off remaining part of the UK.”

Cllr Willie Innes added:

“Given how near we are to the border, East Lothian has always had a close relationship with our southern neighbours. Over the years this has brought important social, cultural and economic benefits to the county. No-one in the Labour group can see any sense in putting these benefits at risk by breaking away from the rest of the UK and we are fully behind the party’s United with Labour campaign.”

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