Salmond: We don’t need referendum for independence

ALEX Salmond has raised the prospect of Scotland becoming independent without going through another referendum.

Alex Salmond outside his home in Strichen at the weekend. Picture: PA
Alex Salmond outside his home in Strichen at the weekend. Picture: PA

The First Minister, who is due to step down in November, said that a vote like last week’s is “only one of a number of routes” that could be taken.

He said that although a referendum was his preferred option, achieving a majority at the Scottish Parliament was another way of reaching his party’s goal.

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Mr Salmond’s comments came as another senior party member, former deputy leader Jim Sillars, said on Twitter that a majority for the SNP in the 2016 Holyrood election would be enough to declare ­independence.

Mr Sillars tweeted: “Let Yes assert new indy rule – no more ref – majority votes and seats at Holyrood 2016 enough.” He later added: “What’s this about a waiting a generation – indy remains on agenda now”.

In a broadcast interview yesterday, Mr Salmond said that for most of the SNP’s history, a referendum had not been the preferred route to independence and warned that the “writing is on the wall for Westminster” after last week’s No vote.

He said: “The referendum route was one of my choosing, it was my policy. I thought that was the right way to proceed but, of course, there are a whole range of ways Scotland can improve its position in pursuit of Scottish independence.

“There is a parliamentary route where people can make their voice heard as well, so a referendum is only one of a number of routes.”

Mr Salmond said: “This is a real thing, this generational change of opinion in Scotland, and I think the writing is on the wall for Westminster. It’s a question of how fast and how far we get.”

He also ruled out taking a seat in the House of Lords after he steps down as First Minister.

“My policy is to abolish the House of Lords,” Mr Salmond said, adding that “rocks would melt with the sun” before he would “ever set foot in the House of Lords”.

Pro-Union parties accused the First Minister of wanting to “stage a coup” to achieve independence. Opponents said Mr Salmond was being “undemocratic” and wanted to ignore the will of the Scottish people expressed in last week’s referendum.

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said: “Having decisively lost a democratic referendum on independence, Alex Salmond is now suggesting the Nationalists can ignore the sovereign will of the Scottish people.

“His words are fundamentally undemocratic and an insult to the people of Scotland.

“Salmond may regret the result but this reaction is dangerous and wrong. Alex Salmond lost. It is not for him to try to overthrow the will of the Scottish people in some sort of coup.”

Ms Lamont called on his likely successor Nicola Sturgeon to “distance herself from these disgraceful remarks”.

She added: “While the rest of us seek reconciliation, Alex Salmond seeks more division. Scotland will not have it.”

Scottish Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw said: “The First Minister’s grace in defeat barely lasted a day.

“He claimed on Friday that he accepted the outcome of what was the largest democratic vote in Scottish political history yet, going by today’s extraordinary outburst, there is anything but acceptance in the Salmond household. Instead, there is petulance, bravado and a crass finger cocked at the majority of Scots. Scotland spoke very clearly and quite decisively: the majority made clear that the ‘sovereign will’ of the people of Scotland is to remain in a UK in which further responsibilities are ­devolved to Holyrood.

“Mr Salmond misunderstood the will of the majority during the campaign and now he seeks to misrepresent it in defeat.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie urged Mr Salmond to “calm down and take a bit of a breather”.

He said: “On Friday, the First Minister said he would work constructively with other parties. By the time he recorded his interview on Saturday, he had changed his mind. Within hours of a result he said he ­accepted he showed that he just can’t help himself.

“The Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, the leader of the opposition, former prime minister Gordon Brown and senior political figures across the parties have been clear that a No vote at the referendum will not mean no to positive change.

“The First Minister still has a real role to play in the process on more powers that is already under way, as promised. I hope that he will take some time for reflection and embrace the positive agenda for change rather than scrabbling round for a new grievance to nurse.”

Labour MSP James Kelly said: “Alex Salmond has created divisions in Scotland where there was none. Now when the nation should be healing, the retired Salmond seeks to divide Scotland further.

“He should be true to his word and accept the result. Let Scotland move on without him, rather than allow him to ferment division. Rather than speculate on how individuals voted, he should accept Scotland’s settled will. Instead of talking about tricks, he must accept that Scotland refused to be tricked into separation.”

“Scotland has spoken. Scotland will move on. The silent majority has spoken and it befits Salmond now to fall silent if he has any regard for his country at all.”