Alex Salmond: SNP will shake up Westminster

ALEX Salmond has said the SNP is preparing to shake Westminster “to its foundations” after the general election.

Salmond was speaking on the same day extracts from his book The Dream Shall Never Die were published. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Salmond was speaking on the same day extracts from his book The Dream Shall Never Die were published. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

With polls indicating a huge swing to the nationalists in Scotland, the former first minister said Labour would find it “very difficult” to refuse the party’s support in the event of a hung parliament.

He was speaking as extracts from The Dream Shall Never Die, his referendum diary looking back on the campaign for independence, were published in the Scottish Sun on Sunday.

Looking forward to the outcome of the vote on May 7, Mr Salmond, who is standing in the Gordon seat at the general election, told the newspaper: “A coalition with Labour is unlikely, confidence and supply is likely and vote by vote support is probable.

“They can refuse our approach but they would find it very difficult.”

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He added: “We’ll shake Westminster to its foundations.”

His book criticises Treasury officials, Prime Minister David Cameron and the BBC for their conduct during the referendum.

Mr Salmond said he was “disgusted” with Mr Cameron’s decision to link further devolution for Scotland with English votes for English laws in the wake of the No vote on September 18, branding the Prime Minister “a Tory toff on a day trip” for his interventions in the debate and lambasting the “imperial bias” of broadcasters.

In an extract of the book, the former first minister names Robert Mackie as the Treasury civil servant he claims was responsible for allegedly leaking information to the media over RBS plans to relocate its headquarters to England in the event of a Yes vote.

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Mr Mackie was head of Scottish referendum communications at the Treasury at the time.

Mr Salmond writes: “The Treasury official immediately responsible for the leak was Robert Mackie who is, coincidentally, the son of Catherine MacLeod - former special advisor to ex-chancellor Alistair Darling, leader of the No campaign.

“Mr Mackie’s ultimate boss is Sir Nicholas Macpherson, the man who believed civil service impartiality did not apply to the referendum.”

He adds: “It’s as dramatic and clear-cut a breach of confidence as you’ll find in terms of potentially market sensitive information.

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“Yet neither the Cabinet Secretary nor Financial Conduct Authority have agreed to investigate.”

Mr Salmond said the City of London Police are investigating the alleged leak.

He added: “If senior civil servants are intervening in politics you are on a slippery slope.”

A Treasury spokeswoman said: “No Treasury press officer leaked information about RBS.

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“When HMT issued a statement about RBS’s possible intentions, it was responding to a story in the Sun newspaper about Lloyd’s contingency plans to move their registered HQ out of Scotland in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote, quoting an RBS source saying that RBS would almost certainly follow suit.

“It was clear that this story was likely to generate significant interest in - and uncertainty about - an issue with important implications for financial stability.

“In response, therefore, the Treasury press office confirmed its understanding of RBS’s contingency planning. We judged that it was important to set this out - at a time when the UK financial markets were closed - given our overarching responsibility for maintaining financial stability in the UK.

“As this was outside normal office hours, this statement was issued by HMT’s press officer on duty at the time acting on the instructions of senior HMT officials and ministers.”

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