Bid for Scottish independence dishonest and deceptive, says Labour leader

Johann Lamont of Scottish Labour says nationalists are nursing ‘a grievance looking for a cause’

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont delivers her speech at the Scottish Labour Party conference at the Perth Concert Hall. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont delivers her speech at the Scottish Labour Party conference at the Perth Concert Hall. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA

Mon, Mar 24, 2014, 01:00



Scottish first minister Alex Salmond’s independence referendum bid is “the most dishonest, deceptive and disgraceful political campaign” ever seen, Scottish Labour has charged.

Relations between Labour and Mr Salmond’s Scottish Nationalist Party are poisonous, particularly since the latter won an unexpected majority in the Holyrood parliament in 2011.

In a speech to Scottish Labour in Perth, party leader Johann Lamont accused Mr Salmond of using taxpayers’ money to encourage people to vote Yes in September’s referendum. Nationalists, she said, are nursing “a grievance looking for a cause”, willing to exploit unpopular Westminster-ordered policies such as the bedroom tax to increase support for independence.

The Scottish government, she said, could have acted to protect Scots from the tax – which penalises local authority tenants if they are deemed to have too big a house – but did not do so.

Meanwhile, a Scotland on Sunday poll reported that 39 per cent of people are saying they will vote No, a jump of two points in a month; but 45 per cent are saying they will vote Yes.

Significantly, two-fifths of those polled do not believe that Scotland will get more powers to govern its own affairs if independence is rejected. More than two-thirds of Scots believe the Holyrood parliament should have full control of all tax and welfare policies – a far greater degree of home rule than on offer currently.