Englishman Andrew Gray is fighting for a referendum — for Newcastle to join an independent Scotland, it was revealed yesterday.
Gray, a member of the Green Party, believes the borders of an independent Scotland should be redrawn south of the River Tyne.
He thinks the independence debate should extend beyond the Scottish borders to areas in the north of England where many regions feel “indifferent” to Westminster rule.
Now he has set up an e-petition on the Government’s online website in a bid to join Scotland if the referendum goes to a Yes vote.
He said: “Many people in the North East feel distant from our government in Westminster, both economically and politically.
“The Scottish Parliament has proved that different ways of running public services are possible, including an NHS without the internal market, Higher Education without tuition fees, and if there’s a Yes vote in the Independence Referendum, defence without the threat of Trident.
“We therefore call on the UK Government to grant a referendum to all who live north of Hadrian’s Wall, or in Newcastle and North Tyneside council areas.
“We could choose whether to remain in England or to join Scotland. We call on the Government to arrange and fund this referendum, and to be bound by the result.
“If the people choose to join Scotland, the new border would follow the line of Hadrian’s Wall west of Newcastle, where it would go south to the river Tyne, then east to the coast.”
Dr Alistair Clark, a senior lecturer of politics at Newcastle University, said it was an “interesting” idea but unlikely to succeed.
He noted the feelings of neglect by Westminster have helped Scotland push for its independence debate, as well as devolved powers for Wales and Northern Ireland.
He said: “It’s an interesting idea and obviously there’s a lot of sympathy and shared feeling and a lot of links between Scotland and the North of England.
“The issue that it points to is that the north has not been well-governed from Westminster.”
But he added: “I do not think anyone has interest in moving the border. I don’t really think Scotland wants to add stacks of territory and I don’t really think England would want to give it up.
“There is no political will behind this and you would need considerable political will to make this move.”
The petition can be read and signed online at http://epetitions.direct.gov.