Call to delay UK election for a year after Yes vote

Angus Robertson: Fears 'distraction' to post-referendum talks. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Angus Robertson: Fears 'distraction' to post-referendum talks. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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THE SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson has said there is a “very good case” for postponing the UK general election for a year in the event of a Yes vote.

Mr Robertson suggested the May 2015 UK election would be a distraction from the intense negotiations required were the UK to be broken up after next September’s referendum.

He told BBC Radio 4: “Will there be a UK general ­election in 2015? That is an issue for the UK government to consider.

“There is a very good case for putting the UK general election back by a year.”

Alex Salmond’s independence white paper, published this week, outlined an 18-month timetable for negotiations to split up the liabilities and assets of the UK.

Before the 24 March 2016 “independence day”, an independent Scottish Government would also have to sort out Mr Salmond plans for a sterling-zone and seek to secure a place in the European Union.

Defending his proposal to delay the UK election, Mr Robertson said: “A Yes result will lead to a very, very intense period of negotiation between the UK and Scottish governments – transitioning Scotland from within the UK into the EU, Nato, the UN and agreeing a series of other important measures.

“Perhaps being diverted by a general election in the middle of that process is something one should be thinking about.”

But Shadow Scottish Secretary Margaret Curran said: “The SNP wants another year of the Tories. Another year of the bedroom tax, austerity and David Cameron and if they win they’d rather negotiate with him than Ed Miliband.”

And Scottish Tory deputy leader Jackson Carlaw added: “This is nothing but posturing from Mr Robertson. It is highly presumptuous of Mr Robertson, a man with clear delusions of grandeur, to be talking about postponing the next general election on the basis of his preferred referendum result. ”

However, a UK government spokesman said: “We have legislated for fixed-term parliaments. There is no plan to change this. ”

Meanwhile, Professor John Kay, formerly on Mr Salmond’s Council of Economic Advisers, challenged the SNP leader’s position on a sterling zone at a Social Market Foundation seminar.

He said: “Alex Salmond has said, rather stupidly, that there is no plan B [regarding retaining the pound]. You don’t have any negotiating power if you don’t have a Plan B. So there has to be a Plan B. And Plan B has to be an independent ­currency.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Prof Kay’s views are well-known. We have put forward sensible proposals for monetary union.”