DAVID Cameron has accused Alex Salmond of trying to “hold the country hostage” and described Labour leader Ed Miliband as the former First Minister’s “poodle”.
In a noisy final Prime Minister’s Questions before the election on 7 May, the prospect of the SNP winning 50 or more seats in Scotland dominated exchanges.
They came as Mr Salmond conceded in an interview in The Spectator that the SNP would put Mr Miliband into Downing Street even if the Labour leader refused to do any deal with the Nationalists.
However, the former First Minister – who hopes to win the Westminster seat of Gordon – warned that the SNP and their “progressive allies” the Greens and Plaid Cymru would then exploit Labour’s weakness.
Commenting, a Scottish Labour spokesman said: “This is a case of the emperor’s new clothes. Alex Salmond has ruled out confidence and supply.
“The endless speculation about hypothetical arrangements is over. Only Labour can end Tory austerity.”
However, during PMQs Mr Cameron made it clear that he intends to make the SNP’s potential hold over Westminster a major political issue for Scotland.
Watched over by his wife Samantha and two of the couple’s children, Mr Cameron said that Mr Salmond had revealed his “ransom note for the country”, which included higher spending and weaker defence.
Answering, Tory Mid Derbyshire MP Pauline Latham, he added: “As far as I am concerned, Alex Salmond has taken the entire Labour Party hostage.”
He said that for “British people there is only one way to stop this appalling hostage situation and that is to vote Conservative on 7 May”.
Mr Cameron’s attack came after an interview in the New Statesman which Mr Salmond laid out SNP demands on spending and scrapping Trident, and said his party would definitely vote against a Tory Queen’s Speech.
With the SNP MPs shaking their heads at Mr Cameron’s comments, the exchanges at time also became comical. At one point when Linlithgow and East Falkirk MP Michael Connarty got to his feet, there was a shout from the Tory benches of “SNP gain” and Mr Cameron then congratulated him on his retirement even though the veteran Labour MP is defending his seat.
Later, veteran Labour MP Stephen Pound asked the Prime Minister if he had gone from “chicken” over avoiding televised leaders debates to “lame duck”.
However, Mr Cameron hit back: “I tell you what is a lame duck and that is going into Downing Street on Alex Salmond’s coat-tails”.
Then fixing his eyes on Mr Miliband, he added: “I’m looking at Alex Salmond’s poodle.”
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