'Little Scotland': Corby rejects independence in mock referendum

Casting vote Corby
Image caption Corby had its say on Scotland's future during the Highland Gathering

A mock independence vote held in a part of England dubbed "Little Scotland" has rejected breaking up the union.

The ballot, which was held during Corby's annual Highland Gathering, saw 576 votes cast with 162 backing Scots independence and 414 rejecting it.

Hundreds in the Northamptonshire town are of Scottish descent, their relatives moving there in the 1930s to work in the iron and steel industries.

Organiser Mark Pengelly said the vote was "a bit of fun".

The actual Scottish referendum takes place in September.

Hundreds of people queued to cast their vote at the Highland Gathering, which features pipe bands and dancing and is said to be the biggest such event held outside Scotland.

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The Corby Highland Gathering was founded in the 1960s
Image copyright Corby Highland Gathering
Image caption Thousands of people attend the Corby Highland Gathering each year
Image caption The Corby Highland Gathering demonstrates Scottish culture alive in the town

Speaking before the gathering, Linda Cassidy, who moved to Corby in 1977, said: "Living outside Scotland has never made me feel any less Scottish.

Image caption Several hundred people took part in the vote

"I won't have a vote in September, but I do have a view and I hope everyone in Corby will make their views heard today."

Many of the Scots who moved to Northamptonshire for work stayed in Corby after the collapse of iron and steel working sites in the area, leading to the town's "Little Scotland" tag.

They retained their culture and even campaigned, unsuccessfully, to be allowed to vote in the referendum in September.

According to the 2011 census, 7,765 (12.7%) people of the town's population of 61,255 were born in Scotland.

Mr Pengelly, a Labour councillor, said he felt the mock vote would give Corby's Scots "a voice".

"Corby has a lot of Scottish traditions," he said. "The vote will certainly create a lot of interest."

A polling station for the mock poll opened at 09:00 BST and closed at 16:00.

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