Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Referendum No in 'little Scotland'

Corby in England is holding a mock independence referendum with shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran urging voters to back the UK

An English town dubbed 'little Scotland' has held its own mock independence referendum.

Organisers of the annual Highland Gathering in Corby, Northamptonshire, said 72% of the 576 voters who took part in its ballot said No to independence.

The town is home to thousands of people of Scottish descent after a downturn in the steel industry in the Clyde Valley led many workers there in the 1930s and 40s.

Described as a "fun, mock election", polling ran from 9am to 4pm at the Charter Field in Corby, where o rganisers said there were 414 no votes and 162 votes in favour of independence.

People living in Scotland will go to the polls for real on September 18

Shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran, who attended the Highland Gathering, said: "We see in Corby a graphic illustration of the close bonds of family and friendship that exist between Scotland the rest of the UK. People are here because they came to work, to build families and to take advantage of new opportunities.

"Most people in the rest of the UK and most people in Scotland don't want what the Nationalists want - to break every political tie we have with each other. Instead, they want to carry on working together and people in Corby today wanted to say clearly to Scots, 'please don't go'.

Sarah-Jane Walls, a spokeswoman for the Yes Scotland campaign, said: "This debate is about whether we want to put Scotland's future in Scotland's hands to help us create a better, fairer country for ourselves and our children.

"The strong social union that exists between Scotland and the other nations in these isles will continue and indeed be enhanced after a Yes vote.

"Independence will be good not only for Scotland but also for the rest of the UK because it will help to rebalance the economy and create a partnership of equals."

Organiser Mark Pengelly, a Labour councillor, said around 4,000 people attended the Gathering and the majority of those who voted had Scottish links.

He said: "There was not a bad turnout, with 72% clearly saying no to independence.

"When the results were announced I was surprised by the cheer - it was massive."

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