Anas Sarwar: SNP want independence at any price

The SNP would choose independence over eradicating child poverty or unemployment throughout the UK, according to Scottish Labour deputy leader Anas Sarwar.

Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party Anas Sarwar. Picture: PA

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont is “the polar opposite to Alex Salmond” and will be “the next first minister of Scotland”, he said.

Closing the Scottish Labour Party conference in Perth, he said Ms Lamont is “the polar opposite to Alex Salmond”.

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“She is someone who is a person of honesty, integrity, real values, real ideas, passionate, humble, modest, absolutely confident about what they believe in and confident in the values to become the next first minister of Scotland.

“Whenever faced with a big challenge the SNP answer is always independence.

“What would Alex Salmond or Nicola Sturgeon choose if asked - independence or eradicate child poverty across the UK?

“Independence or full employment across the UK?

“Independence or anything else?

“It would be independence every single time.”

Mr Sarwar said voters face a choice between “devolution or separation” and that he is confident devolution will win.

Labour has already outlined proposals to devolve more power to Holyrood in the event of a No vote, including giving MSPs greater control over income tax.

Labour is the “party of devolution” that wrote “Scotland’s home rule story”, according to Mr Sarwar, who urged Scots to “make sure that proud story doesn’t end with Alex Salmond”.

The three day long conference has also set out to position Labour as the party of social justice in Scotland.

Mr Sarwar told activists they have “outlined the positive constitutional, economic and social alternative to independence and the Tories”.

He added: “This weekend we have taken our history back, taken our story back, taken social justice back, taken our party back

“And with the support of the people of Scotland we will take our country back too.