Johann Lamont in Stornoway for Gazette debate

‘We should continue to work in partnership with our neighbours’ says Lamont

The Gazette Big Referendum Debate is taking place tonight (Monday 1st September) and Scottish Labour Leader Johann Lamont will be on the panel putting forward the case for a ‘No’ vote on September 18th.

Scottish Labour Leader Johann Lamont will be on the Gazette panel putting forward the case for a 'No' vote.

Scottish Labour Leader Johann Lamont will be on the Gazette panel putting forward the case for a 'No' vote.

All tickets have now gone but you can still see the debate streamed live online. Register to watch the event at:

There will also be full coverage of the debate in next week’s Stornoway Gazette, out on Thursday 4th September.

Below is a Q&A session held by the Gazette with the Scottish Labour Leader ahead of the debate.

- How different is it to campaign for the Referendum compared to fighting an election?

The referendum campaign feels very different from an election because we know there is so much more at stake.

If people don’t like the government they voted for, they can kick them out after a few years but if Scotland decides to go independent, this will be irreversible and final.

It’s why we should think long and hard about breaking up a partnership that has lasted 300 years and not be swayed by some of the personalities and policy offers which may not seem so important to the next generation who are stuck with our decision.

- Which topics relating to the question of Scottish Independence do you anticipate being of particular importance to WI residents?

As someone with a strong connection to the Western Isles and a regular visitor to Stornoway to see close family, I know that there are distinct issues which chime with people there.

I know that people who live in relatively remote parts of Scotland have a sense that power feels very far away from them, whether decisions are taken in London or Edinburgh, and want to take more control of their communities.

That is why Labour is arguing for greater devolution, not just from Westminster but Holyrood too.

But I expect the issues that will make up people’s minds will be the same all around the country.

What is best for my family, what will make jobs and pensions more secure and will I be better or worse off?

With so many questions going unanswered on the currency, on EU membership and on pensions, I believe most people will come to the conclusion that this isn’t a risk worth taking and by voting No, we can have the best of both worlds, a strong Scottish Parliament with more powers but backed by the strength and security of the United Kingdom.

- Do you feel convinced of the Referendum outcome yet or is there still all to play for?

I am confident that the majority of Scots agree with me that we should be continuing to work in partnership with our neighbours and use the strength of the UK to make Scotland a better place.

But I am certainly not convinced of the outcome and we are determined to work hard for every vote between now and referendum day.

We know that we are winning the argument and every poll we have seen so far confirms that but we believe it is in the best interests of Scotland to stay strong in the United Kingdom and will fight with everything we have got to make sure that remains the case.