Salmond hints at second independence referendum

Alex Salmond said a referendum could follow an SNP victory at Holyrood next year. Picture: JP

Alex Salmond said a referendum could follow an SNP victory at Holyrood next year. Picture: JP

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FORMER first minister Alex Salmond has said that Scots “deserve a second chance” with an independence referendum.

In an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Salmond, who is running for the Westminster seat of Gordon, hinted that another referendum could follow a victory for the SNP in Holyrood next year although he ruled out one after the Westminster election in May.

However, he noted that “Nicola Sturgeon is the leader now” and said decisions on a manifesto were for her to make.

The ex-SNP leader was speaking amid questions over his failure to declare his outside earnings. Mr Salmond, who continues to work as an MSP, has failed to declare his interests as a columnist for the Courier newspaper and has not yet declared any advance payments for his recently-published book, or for its serialisation in the Scottish Sun.

There was also criticism over his assertion that the SNP will hold the balance of power in Westminster after May.

He said the party would demand the scrapping of Trident as the price of entering a “confidence and supply” agreement with Ed Miliband.

But he said the “more likely” situation would be Labour and the SNP working together on a vote-by-vote basis – including detailed negotiations about Budget packages.

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy said the SNP would have “no bargaining chips” to control a minority government headed by Mr Miliband as they had already ruled out working with the Tories.

And he warned Scots that they could not vote SNP to get a Labour government “by proxy”.

John Lamont, the Tory chief whip in Holyrood, said: “Four weeks before postal ballots go out, Alex Salmond is taking the votes of people in Scotland for granted and planning back-room deals with Labour from a TV sofa in London. Even for him, this is stunning arrogance.”

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