Scottish independence: David Cameron accuses SNP of ‘running away’ from referendum

THE PRIME Minister today accused the Scottish National Party of “running away” from an independence referendum.

Speaking in the Commons, David Cameron spoke out as he was grilled on possible new powers which could be granted to Holyrood if it rejected splitting the UK.

SNP MP Angus MacNeil (Nahh-Eileanan an Iar) told Mr Cameron: “Last week in Edinburgh you said there were more powers on the table for Scotland, but couldn’t name any.

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“A few months ago you go mocked the idea of Scotland controlling its own oil wells. Can you name one power you have on your mind in this latest u-turn?”

But speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Cameron hit back: “I didn’t think the Scottish National Party favoured devolution; I thought you favoured separation.

“Yet as soon as you’re offered a referendum that gives you the chance to put that in front of the Scottish people, you start running away.”

Labour MP Frank Field called for MPs to debate English devolution so voters south of the border could “gain equity with other countries of the United Kingdom”.

The Birkenhead MP asked the Prime Minister: “Will you devote as much time to facing up to the grievances the English feel from the current proposals of devolution as you will be giving to considering new proposals of devolution for Scotland?”

But Mr Cameron said experts were examining the “West Lothian question”, named after the constituency of Labour’s Tam Dalyell, who first raised the issue of Scottish MPs voting on issues which affect only English electors.

“We want to make sure devolution works for everyone in the UK,” said the PM.

“The UK has been an incredibly successful partnership between all its members and far from wanting to appeal to English people to nurture a grievance they feel, I want to appeal to my fellow Englishmen to say, ‘This has been a great partnership for Scotland and a great partnership for England too’.

“Of course Scotland must make its choice, but we hope Scotland will choose to remain in this partnership that has done so well for the last 300 years.”