PEOPLE and politicians across Scotland have been reacting to comments made by US Senator Bernie Sanders about Scottish independence

Speaking to Sky News, the 81-year-old was asked what his “gut feeling” on Scottish independence was. 

He said he was not an “expert” on UK politics but that he “very much appreciated what the people of Scotland have done, what they’re fighting for” and that “if they want to go their own way, they should be allowed to”. 

The SNP have said the remarks highlight that “any true democrat can see it is for the people of Scotland, not politicians, to decide their future”. 

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SNP MSP Fiona Hyslop said: “In the Scottish Parliament elections, the SNP won a historic landslide election victory with a manifesto commitment to give people across Scotland the chance to escape the disastrous consequences of Westminster control in an independence referendum.

“Any true democrat can see it is for the people of Scotland, not politicians, to decide their future – so Bernie Sanders’ support for Scots to have a say over their future comes as no surprise.

“The Tories and pro-Brexit Labour are increasingly isolated in their disgraceful denial of democracy – even members and senior figures in their own parties recognise this.”

Elsewhere, Health Secretary Humza Yousaf, who appeared on the Sky programme following Sanders, welcomed the support for the independence cause.  

He said: "I’d love to have Bernie Sanders on the campaign, but actually Bernie gets it. It should be for the people of Scotland to decide. 

"That’s not just Bernie Sanders’ view, if you wanted to come a little bit closer to home, I’ve heard Mark Drakeford who is a Labour Welsh politician, who doesn’t believe in independence, but has said, very unequivocally, that it should be up to the people to decide."

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And, fellow SNP leadership candidate Ash Regan thanked Sanders for his support on social media. 

“Self-determination of nations is normal. The Scottish people will decide when they want independence, not Westminster.”

Regan’s rival in the race to replace Nicola Sturgeon Humza Yousaf also praised Sanders, saying that he “gets it” and that it “should be for the people of Scotland to decide” whether or not it becomes independent. 

Many other users also took to Twitter in praise of the senator’s views. One said: “Bernie Sanders is right – Scottish independence is a democratic question for Scottish people alone.”

Another said that he “understands why people want it”. In 2020, Sanders’s older brother Larry, a Green Party activist based in the UK, said he thought the Senator would be “favourable” to independence. 

Elsewhere, the SNP’s Westminster leader Stephen Flynn re-tweeted the video of Sanders voicing his support for independence.

Another Twitter user said: “Bernie appreciates Scotland’s fight.”

The Scottish Greens external affairs spokesperson Ross Greer, who was an organiser for the Senator’s campaign during the Democrats Abroad primary in Scotland, said: "His comments were a basic defence of democracy that millions will agree with, so it is very telling that they have upset so many anti-independence campaigners.

 "It really says something about our politics when a visiting politician from thousands of miles away can defend our right to a democratic choice but both the current Tory government and their Labour ‘opposition’ flatly refuse to do so."