THE independence referendum offers a "once in a lifetime opportunity" to create a socialist Scottish republic, former MSP Colin Fox has claimed.

The leader of the SSP set out the party's case for independence in a new booklet.

It argues that a Yes vote in next year's referendum would shift Scotland's "political gravity to the Left," bringing the party's aim of creating a socialist republic closer.

Launching the booklet at Holyrood yesterday, Mr Fox said: "Our case is that working class Scots will be better off with independence.

"They will be better off economically, socially and politically by supporting a Yes vote in September next year."

He admitted independence would not bring about a socialist Scotland immediately because of the SNP's "capitalist vision" and Alex Salmond's acceptance of the "neo-liberal stranglehold".

The booklet argues that the UK will resist Scottish independence as it would suffer a "profound loss of economic and political power".

The booklet comes after a group of leading trade unionists and left-wing thinkers set out a different vision for Scotland as part of a federal UK

The Red Paper on Scotland 2014 rejected independence as a "blind alley" but said Holyrood should be handed sweeping new powers allowing it to nationalise industries.