Independence for Scotland could revive Labour north of the border, one of the party's former MPs declared.
Dennis Canavan said if Scots voted to leave the UK it could "turn out to be the best thing ever to happen to the Scottish Labour Party". The former Labour MP, who is now the chairman of the pro-independence campaign group Yes Scotland's advisory board, argued that would allow the party in Scotland to become independent of UK Labour.
Scots will vote on independence in a referendum in the autumn of 2014 and Mr Canavan argued: "An independent Scotland could lead to a revival of the Scottish Labour Party because many of Scottish Labour's problems stem from the fact that it has been de-radicalised through its ties to London.
"Independence would be like escaping from a political straitjacket. An independent Scotland would mean an independent Scottish Labour Party which would be free to determine its own agenda in accordance with the values and aspirations of the people of Scotland."
Mr Canavan spoke out at the first conference of Labour for Independence. The event, in Glasgow, also included speeches from Deacon Blue singer Ricky Ross, Jeane Freeman, who was an adviser to former Labour first minister Jack McConnell, and Ravenscraig shop steward Tommy Brennan.
Labour for Independence was founded by party member Allan Grogan, who said he had "looked on in a daze at the Scottish Labour Party's dramatic lurch to the right".
Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont has recently hit out at Scotland's "something for nothing" culture and questioned the affordability of policies such as free tuition fees, free prescriptions and free personal care for the elderly. Mr Grogan said the party was "flagrantly disregarding the fundamental core of our values on free healthcare and education for all".
He said: "We have all sat back and watched as the higher-ups of the party have moved us away from the party of the worker to the party of the wealthy - a party which has the temerity to claim that Scotland has a something-for-nothing society. I am sorry that I stood by and watched these people take away the real Labour values of my party."
Mr Canavan, who spent 26 years as a Labour MP at Westminster and eight as a Holyrood independent before retiring in 2007, told Labour supporters gathered at Glasgow Caledonian University that a "yes" vote in the referendum was not a vote for the SNP.
"It is not a vote of confidence in Alex Salmond, whatever you may think," he said. A 'yes' vote is for an independent Scotland."