Kathleen welcomes old enemy Kevin to Yes fold

Once rival councillors, Kevin McKeown and Kathleen McAlorum now agree on a Yes vote.
Once rival councillors, Kevin McKeown and Kathleen McAlorum now agree on a Yes vote.

Two former political foes united this week to press the claim for a Yes vote in the Scottish independence referendum.

As councillors, Labour’s Kevin McKeown and Kathleen McAlorum, of the SNP, were often at loggerheads over local issues.

Their bitter rivalry peaked when they went head to head for the Mossend East and New Stevenston ward, a contest Mr McKeown edged.

But now, with their days in the council chamber behind them, they are both hoping Scotland elects to go it alone in September.

Mr McKeown quit the Labour Party two years ago in a row over his attendance at council meetings, then lost his seat to the Labour candidate at the 2012 North Lanarkshire Council elections. Labour is against independence and he has joined a separate body, Scottish Labour for Independence.

Mr McKeown, whose brother-in-law Michael McMahon is Labour MSP for Uddingston and Bellshill, said: “I believe we are better governing ourselves in Scotland rather than taking what’s left from Westminister, but I’m not joining the SNP.

“In recent months high ranking Labour people such as former Strathclyde Regional Council leader Charlie Gray and ex-party chairman Bob Thomson have come out in support of independence and that shows the tide is turning.

“If we don’t get independence I can see another coalition government after the next UK elections who don’t represent the interests of the Scottish people. We would be in the wilderness for years to come.”

Mr McKeown admitted there’s irony in him now lining up with former rival Mrs McAlorum to press for independence, but he stressed:

“As a councillor I didn’t campaign on national policies. It was about local issues, and Kathleen and I simply did what we thought was best for our communities.”