Scotland's first pro-independence daily paper to launch next week

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 22, 2014 12:35 PM

LONDON (Reuters) - Scotland's first daily newspaper to support independence from the United Kingdom will launch on Monday, reflecting surging nationalist support since Scots spurned independence two months ago.

The Herald and Times group, part of the Newsquest publishing arm of U.S.-based firm Gannett, said it will produce a tabloid-style newspaper called The National in a week-long trial run.

Since Scots voted by 55-45 percent to preserve the United Kingdom in a Sept. 18 referendum, support has ballooned for the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP).

But only the weekly Sunday Herald, also part of the Herald and Times group, has a pro-independence editorial stance among Scotland's major newspapers. Its editor Richard Walker will oversee the production of The National.

"The National is an exciting opportunity to meet the needs of a very politically-engaged section of the Scottish population," said Tim Blott, Herald and Times group managing director.

"We recognize that launching a newspaper in 2014 is to some extent counter-intuitive but we consistently argue for the power of great journalism and informed opinion."

Polls show the SNP could become Britain's third largest party in terms of Westminster seats.

If the SNP was to support a possible minority Labour government after next May's general election, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has said her party would demand an end to state spending cuts and for any plans to deploy new nuclear weapons in Scotland to be shelved.

Across Britain, the ruling right-leaning Conservatives and the opposition left-wing Labour Party are facing simultaneous challenges from the SNP and the anti-EU UK Independence Party that could revolutionize a two-party system in place since 1945.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)