Scottish independence: Alex Salmond ‘invented vote plans during TV debate’
SHADOW foreign secretary Douglas Alexander has said that Alex Salmond “invented” his plans to hold the independence referendum in 2014 when he was under pressure during a Holyrood election TV debate.
Mr Alexander also claimed that Mr Salmond’s refusal to rule out a second question on more powers for Holyrood showed the SNP leader’s “desperation and weakness” in attempting to gain support for independence.
The senior Scottish MP, speaking at a Labour conference fringe meeting on the future of the UK, dismissed the suggestion that there was an “inexorable march towards Scotland becoming a separate state”.
He said: “Support for independence has been running at 35 per cent for many decades and has never been the mainstream choice of Scots. The numbers on independence have not significantly shifted.”
Mr Alexander claimed that Mr Salmond had only opted for the autumn 2014 timing for the independence referendum when asked about the timing of the vote during a TV debate with the other party leaders just days before polling day in 2011.
He suggested that the First Minister had realised that he would have to name a referendum date due to internal pressure within the SNP.
Mr Alexander said: “Alex Salmond invented the policy that the referendum would be in the second half of the parliament. The SNP manifesto was totally silent on this. It was invented during the TV debate as Alex Salmond realised that he was in a position where he could get a majority at the election and that SNP activists would then want a date for the referendum.”
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 5 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west