Salmond says No voters ‘tricked’ into staying in UK

Political leaders accused of ‘tearing-up’ commitments made on enhanced devolution

British Prime Minister David Cameron has insisted his plan to link further Scottish devolution to the process of making sure only English MPs can vote on English laws was necessary to address a ’basic unfairness’ in the constitution. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

British Prime Minister David Cameron has insisted his plan to link further Scottish devolution to the process of making sure only English MPs can vote on English laws was necessary to address a ’basic unfairness’ in the constitution. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

 

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond has said some of those who had voted ‘No’ in favour of remaining in the union had been “tricked” by the Westminster leaders over the promise of new powers.

Mr Salmond claimed political leaders of the No campaign had already started to “tear up the commitments”.

Speaking from his home town in Aberdeenshire, Mr Salmond told STV News: “I suppose I feel sorry for those in the No side who were tricked by Westminster into believing there would be an immediate offer of extra powers, an explicit timescale, the vow that was given to Scotland obviously persuaded some people to vote No at the last minute, and now within 24 hours of the polls closing they start to tear up the commitments.”

As predicted in most polls in the run-up to the referendum, the No side won out in the end after 45 per cent of Scots voted for independence, with 55 per cent wanting to remain in the UK.

British prime minister David Cameron and other party leaders made detailed promises to Scotland about future funding and new tax and spending powers if voters rejected the referendum proposal.

A white paper is due by November, and draft legislation published by January although significant differences have already emerged between the three party leaders over how that will happen.

Mr Cameron has insisted on linking Scottish devolution to constitutional reform in England while Labour leader Ed Miliband wants plans for devolution to be put to members of the public through a constitutional convention.

Insisting his plan to link further Scottish devolution to the process of making sure only English MPs can vote on English laws, Mr Cameron said the move was necessary to address a “basic unfairness” in the constitution.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday he added: “This moment must not just be about securing Scotland’s future in the UK — and celebrating that fact — but settling other questions whose time has come.

“The challenge is to make sure our UK works for all nations. “Millions of people in the rest of the UK have been listening to these debates, watching this campaign and rightly asking: ‘What will change for us? Why can’t we have the same powers and the same rights as those in Scotland?’

Mr Cameron called on Labour leader Ed Miliband to either work together with him or explain to the people of the UK why he would not tackle the “fundamentally unjust” situation which means Scottish MPs can vote on laws which do not apply to their constituents.

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg warned that Mr Cameron’s decision to link the issues could see him forced to renege on his promise to the people of Scotland.

Writing in The Sunday Times, Mr Clegg insisted there could be “no ifs, no buts” about delivering the extra powers promised to Scotland, and the package “cannot be made contingent on other constitutional reforms”. He accused the Tories of being more concerned with the threat from Ukip than the vow made to Scotland.

He said: “The Conservatives, in their rush to protect themselves from an attack from the right, are only concerned about English votes on English matters. “Of course we need a solution to this dilemma but, by appearing to link it to the delivery of further devolution to Scotland, they risk reneging on the commitment made to the Scottish people that, in the event of a No vote, new powers would come what may.

“Worse still, if the Conservatives enter into a Dutch auction with Ukip over ever more extreme solutions to the issue of English votes they could jeopardise the union they purport to defend.

Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna accused Mr Cameron of behaving in a “disgraceful” way over his response to the referendum. He told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Pienaar’s Politics: “What you are seeing is the prime minister here behaving in a dishonourable way and in bad faith, because he has been seeking to link English votes for English MPs to the issue of Scottish devolution and what was agreed before the referendum. “There was no mention of tying that — English votes for English MPs — to the reforms that we need to look at that have been agreed in Scotland.”

He added: “We have just seen the Scottish people vote to maintain this wonderful, successful union that we have got, maintain the solidarity and togetherness that we have, and all the prime minister now wants to talk about is separating out different parts of our country, setting them up against each other.”

Dismissing Mr Cameron’s “back of the fag packet” approach he added: “I think the way he has behaved has been disgraceful.”

Mr Cameron’s intervention follows former Labour Party leader Gordon Brown’s insistence yesterday that promises made on more powers for Scotland must be honoured.

Mr Brown said: “The eyes of the world have been upon us and now I think the eyes of the world are upon the leaders of the major parties of the United Kingdom. “These are men who had been promise makers, and they will not be promise breakers, and I will ensure that that these promises that have been made are upheld.”

Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan told Channel 4 News the “anomaly” around the West Lothian question should be looked into but he condemned the way Mr Cameron had used the referendum result to launch his plan to restrict the influence of Scottish MPs. He said: “What you can’t do is, at 7am, an hour after results come out, pull out of a hat a stitch-up in relation to terms conditional for Scotland to get the powers they have been promised.”

Labour want the Scottish issues to be treated separately from wider reforms, which Mr Miliband wants to be examined in detail by a constitutional convention.

Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna accused Mr Cameron of behaving in a “disgraceful” way over his response to the referendum. He told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Pienaar’s Politics: “What you are seeing is the Prime Minister here behaving in a dishonourable way and in bad faith, because he has been seeking to link English votes for English MPs to the issue of Scottish devolution and what was agreed before the referendum. “There was no mention of tying that — English votes for English MPs — to the reforms that we need to look at that have been agreed in

Scotland.” He added: “We have just seen the Scottish people vote to maintain this wonderful, successful union that we have got, maintain the solidarity and togetherness that we have, and all the Prime Minister now wants to talk about is separating out different parts of our country, setting them up against each other.” Dismissing Mr Cameron’s “back of the fag packet” approach he added: “I think the way he has behaved has been disgraceful.”

A message of unity will be delivered to Scotland’s political leaders today during a special church service. Around 1,000 people, including shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander and Scotland’s finance secretary John Swinney, are expected to attend the event at St Giles Cathedral in the heart of Edinburgh. Church of Scotland moderator the Rt Rev John Chalmers will lead the service in which he will ask Scots to put their differences aside and work together to redefine the country’s place within the UK three days after the independence referendum.

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