ALEX Salmond is not proving himself to be a true “statesman” by failing to spell out the consequences of independence to the Scottish public, former Scottish secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind has claimed.
In a speech at Royal Bank of Scotland’s headquarters last night, Kensington MP Sir Malcolm warned members of the Farmers Club that people needed to know how independence would affect their lives – calling for answers over issues such as currency and Nato and European Union membership.
He said the First Minister had not laid out what action he would take if, without Trident, Scotland was denied a position within Nato – and if entry to the EU was delayed. “Alex Salmond is asking Scotland to take a huge gamble with its future,” he said.
“Alex Salmond is a smart politician but he is not showing himself to be a statesman, frank and open with the Scottish public.”
He added: “It is a great pity. Scotland needs a statesman at its helm more than ever at this moment of great historic importance for its future. It is disturbing that it does not have one.”
Sir Malcolm, chairman of the intelligence and security committee at Westminster, said Scotland would be likely to be eventually granted membership of the EU, but said it could take “several years” rather than months.
A spokesman for the SNP said: “It is ironic Malcolm Rifkind is back in Scotland trying to tell farmers what is best for them – he was voted out as part of the Tory wipeout in 1997.”