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Alex Salmond: second Scottish referendum is inevitable

Published 26/07/2015

Alex Salmond said the timing of a second referendumm was in the hands of Nicola Sturgeon
Alex Salmond said the timing of a second referendumm was in the hands of Nicola Sturgeon

Former First Minister Alex Salmond has said that a second referendum on Scottish independence is "inevitable".

Mr Salmond said that three issues are driving the move towards a referendum - the UK Government's alleged refusal to deliver a vow on home rule, the European Union issue and austerity.

He said that the country is getting "austerity to the max" instead of "devo to the max."

Speaking on BBC 1's Andrew Marr show, Mr Salmond said the only question is when the referendum would take place.

The MP for Gordon said: " I think a second independence referendum is inevitable. The question is not the inevitability, it's the timing and that is very much in the hands of Nicola Sturgeon.

"I can see three issues which are moving things towards a second referendum on a timescale yet to be determined. One is the refusal to deliver the vow. The vow was about home rule, devo to the max, near federalism to quote Gordon Brown. That has not been delivered as yet at least in the Scotland Bill so that's an issue.

"The second issue is one that's been cast up quite a lot and that's the European issue. If you had a situation and circumstance where Scotland voted to stay in the European Union in the referendum but was dragged out on the votes of the people of England then that would be a material change of circumstance and the third thing emerging of course comes out from the budget and the welfare bill which is austerity.

"Instead of getting devo to the max we're getting austerity to the max and that divergent view of what's right in social terms between Scotland and England is another issue which is moving things towards another referendum."

Mr Salmond also addressed the issue of Conservative plans for English votes for English laws (Evel)

Asked what a successful Evel proposal inside a UK parliament would look like he said: "If you were doing it properly you would have an English parliament because you have to have some sort of symmetry between what's happening in Northern Ireland, what's happening in Wales, what's happening in Scotland, what's happening in England.

"There are four nations in these islands and if you were to take the Prime Minister at his word and this was an equal partnership then each of these nations would have equality with each other and that would mean an English parliament."

He added: "An English parliament is not independence. You can have an English parliament within a federation and a home rule situation."

Labour's Shadow Scottish Secretary Ian Murray MP said: "Alex Salmond's priorities are all wrong.

"Today's newspapers are full of stories about failures by the SNP Government - from a £1 billion GP funding cut to chaos at the heart of Police Scotland.

"Instead of obsessing about a re-run of a vote that took place less than a year ago, the SNP should focus on cleaning up the mess they have made of Scotland's public services."

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