ALEX Salmond has written to the Prime Minister asking him to reveal details of an allegedly “pejorative” conversation about Scottish independence with a party donor.
Alex Salmond has written to the Prime Minister asking him to reveal details of an allegedly “pejorative” conversation about Scottish independence with a party donor.
During secretly filmed discussions Peter Cruddas, the former Tory co-treasurer, said he and David Cameron had jokingly referred to Mr Salmond as “the mad Scotsman”.
A Conservative Party spokesman said Mr Cameron has never used this phrase, but Mr Salmond has now written to the Prime Minister for clarification.
The letter read: “Yesterday’s Sunday Times’ report regarding Peter Cruddas is a matter of substantial public concern. One important aspect is that Mr Cruddas is reported to have discussed the issue of Scottish independence with you, in somewhat pejorative terms.”
A spokesman for the First Minister confirmed he was referring to the “mad Scotsman” claims.
In the letter, Mr Salmond continued: “I would like to know directly from you the details of this discussion. The paper reports that Mr Cruddas personally was a major donor to the No to AV campaign, reportedly funding the campaign to the tune of £1.2 million.
“You will also have noted that Mr Cruddas was willing to discuss accepting political donations with persons purporting to represent an overseas wealth fund, which of course is prohibited by law from making a donation to a political party in the United Kingdom.
“As you know, the Scottish Government’s proposals for a referendum on independence in autumn 2014 set out clear rules about donations to the campaigning groups for the referendum.
“These rules are based on established electoral law, and our consultation document proposes that they would be rigorously enforced by the Electoral Commission.
“Given the revelations in the Sunday Times and subsequent resignation of Mr Cruddas, I am asking you to agree that there is now even more reason to ensure that the terms governing the conduct of the referendum are determined by the Scottish Parliament, and are not dictated by Westminster - a threat that was discussed by senior Conservative Party representatives as recently as last weekend at your Scottish Party conference.
“You will realise the importance we attach to holding a referendum which is beyond reproach and free of the sort of impropriety which is so clearly pointed to in the Sunday Times report.”
Mr Cruddas quit after the Sunday Times published secret recordings in which he urged undercover reporters to give more than £250,000 in return for direct face-time with senior ministers.
Mr Cameron yesterday denounced his comments as “completely unacceptable” and announced an internal party inquiry which he says would ensure there would be no repeat.
A Downing Street spokesman said today: “We have always said we want to give the Scottish Government, via a Section 30 order, the powers to hold a legal referendum. We see no reason why this cannot be agreed between the UK and Scottish governments as we have both stated publicly our preference for a single-question referendum overseen by the electoral commission.
“We hope that this can be quickly agreed once both consultations have closed.”