Double standards row as Cameron says 'yes' to Welsh referendum – but 'no' to Scots one

DAVID Cameron has been accused of "double standards" after he agreed he would allow a referendum that could lead to more powers for the Welsh Assembly.

The Conservative leader yesterday said he would not block a vote on the Welsh constitution if it was demanded by the Cardiff Assembly.

But his words have sparked a political row in Scotland because of the Tories' opposition to a referendum on Scottish independence.

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SNP Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan said: "I would like to say I am shocked at the Tories' consistent refusal to allow the people of Scotland a say on their future, but they have never cared for Scotland and most likely never will – voters know this and have shown that at the ballot box.

"This is indeed encouraging for the people of Wales. I only wish that the Tories would show the same trust and respect to Scotland.

"The Tories say they want constitutional change by giving the Scots Parliament more powers. However, there can be no other way to make the desired change than putting trust in the people and allowing them a voice."

On a visit to north Wales, Mr Cameron said he believed that reviving the economy was the most important thing to be done in Wales.

But he added that he would not stand in the way of a referendum.

Mr Cameron said: "I believe the priorities in Wales are getting jobs, are getting the economy moving, are dealing with the deficit.

"But I know people do want an answer to the question: What if the Welsh Assembly voted to have a wider referendum on more law-making powers of the assembly?

"Would a Conservative government, if one is elected, allow that to go ahead? And I can tell you the answer to that question is yes, we would. We wouldn't stand in the way of that request."

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Mr Cameron added: "My own view is, let's roll up our sleeves and deal with the real priorities – jobs, investment, getting the economy going – that is what I think people in Wales care about most of all."

The Tories have also been keen on a referendum on Europe.

This week Mr Cameron confirmed that he would not hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty now that it had been ratified.

In the past, when asked about Scotland's position within the United Kingdom, Mr Cameron has said he would "never do anything" to put at risk the Union, a phrase that has been interpreted as a sign that he opposed holding a referendum on independence.

In common with Labour, the Conservatives in the Scottish Parliament have said they will not support an independence referendum at Holyrood.

With the Liberal Democrats recently saying that they would not support an independence poll this parliament, the chances of the SNP pushing its forthcoming Referendum Bill through parliament next year are extremely remote.

A Conservative spokesman said if the Scottish Parliament did support a referendum, it would not be obstructed by a Westminster government led by Mr Cameron.

"There is no inconsistency. The party has made it clear that if there is a majority for a referendum in the Scottish Parliament, then David Cameron would not stand in the way of it," the spokesman said.

"That is totally consistent. However, the simple fact of the matter is that there is no majority for a referendum in the Scottish Parliament."