Independence could help secure a Labour government in Scotland in 2016, the chairman of campaign group Yes Scotland has told the party's supporters.

Former Labour MP Dennis Canavan said a Yes vote in the referendum would not represent a change in party allegiance to the SNP, but could instead herald the return of Labour to power in the first elections for an independent Scottish Parliament.

Addressing a rally in Glasgow organised by Labour for Independence, Mr Canavan said: "By asking Labour voters to vote Yes in the referendum, we are not asking them to change their party allegiance.

"A Yes vote is not a vote for Alex Salmond or a vote for the SNP. On the contrary, independence could help secure the election of a Labour government in Scotland.

"Labour supporters can vote Yes in the referendum and then vote Labour in the first elections to the Scottish Parliament in 2016.

"Independence would mean that an independent Scottish Labour Party would be able to respond more readily to the needs and aspirations of the people of Scotland. That would help to bring about policies based on Labour's traditional values of social justice and solidarity."

Allan Grogan, founder and leader of Labour for Independence, said: "An independent Scottish Labour Party can reject regressive policies of Westminster - which will lead to greater social equality and opportunities to end poverty in Scotland."

Mr Canavan's comments follow remarks from former politician Jim Sillars, who believes Labour could be the first to run an independent Scottish government.

Mr Sillars, who is a former Labour and SNP MP who retains SNP membership, said he and others may join Labour if it ''rediscovers'' its socialism after a Yes vote on September 18.

A Better Together spokesman said: "This organisation has been exposed as nothing more than a sham group fronted by SNP councillors.

"With polls showing that around a third of SNP voters want to stay in the UK, the nationalists should look a little closer to home."