Alex Salmond: The Vow did swing the indyref result

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Alex Salmond has called into question a claim made by the former editor of the Daily Record that The Vow was not responsible for the No campaign winning the 2014 independence referendum.

The former First Minister welcomed Murray Foote as “a new recruit to the independence cause” after he came out in support of separation this month.

Alex Salmond said he believed The Vow swung the 2014 referendum result. Picture: TSPL

Alex Salmond said he believed The Vow swung the 2014 referendum result. Picture: TSPL

READ MORE: Editor responsible for ‘The Vow’ now backs Scottish

But Mr Salmond disagreed with him over the impact of the promise which was published on the front page of the Daily Record two days ahead of the historic vote, The National reports.

The Vow, signed by the then Prime Minister David Cameron, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and Labour leader Ed Miliband, was published two days before the referendum took place.

Although a major study three years ago found it did not change the result of the vote, it led to the creation of the Smith Commission and the devolution of significant new powers to Scotland.

Mr Foote, who stood down as editor of the Record in March, said his motivation for publishing the pledge was to ensure the politicians kept to their word. He added there was no evidence it lost the campaign for Yes which he believed failed because the economic case for independence was not strong enough.

READ MORE: SNP put IndyRef2 ahead of vote on Brexit deal

However, Mr Salmond remains convinced The Vow had an impact on the vote.

He said: “I warmly welcome Murray Foote as a new recruit to the independence cause but he heavily underrates the significance of the Vow which was a journalistic masterpiece but politically disabled Scotland at a crucial moment.

“It presented a No campaign then in total disarray with a rallying point in the final week of the 2014 referendum.

“The Daily Record provided an infinitely more credible vehicle than George Osborne and the Tory Government who first wanted to proffer the panicked promise of more powers.”

He added: “The votes that drifted back to No in the final days of the campaign were mostly older Labour inclined voters to whom Gordon Brown and The Record still spoke to with some authority and of course offering people an apparently easier path can always be presented as attractive in a climate of fear mongering.

“It only needed to influence one in 20 of the population to swing the vote and I think it did just that.”

Mr Foote admitted that an independent Scotland would face “financial challenges” in the years after a Yes vote. “The difficult decisions our independent nation would face and the sacrifices we may need to make do trouble me,” he wrote.

His decision to back separation was welcomed by Nicola Sturgeon, who said she was “delighted” to hear of his change of heart.