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Alex Salmond: 'Westminster gang' tricked people into voting No to Scottish independence

Alex Salmond has declared the "writing is on the wall" for Westminster as he claimed party leaders there tricked people into voting No to independence with their last minute promise of more powers for Holyrood.

The Scottish First Minister, who is stepping down from the job after his independence dream was rejected by voters in the referendum, said that the "Westminster gang" were already going back on the pledge they made.

Concerns have been raised by nationalists that David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg will not make good on their promise to extend new powers over areas such as tax and welfare to Scotland in the timetable that has been laid out.

The Prime Minister has stressed the need to link this to changes in Westminster to ensure that only English MPs can vote on legislation which only impacts on England.

But this insistence that the new settlement for Holyrood should go hand in hand with efforts to answer the so-called West Lothian question about the rights of Scottish and English MPs has been met with wariness from Labour, which has most of Scotland's 59 seats.

It could also spark a fresh rift in the Westminster coalition, with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg warning that Mr Cameron's decision to link the two issues could see him forced to renege on his promise to the people of Scotland.

Mr Clegg, writing in The Sunday Times, insisted delivering the extra powers "cannot be made contingent on other constitutional reforms".

The Prime Minister has insisted the timetable for further devolution would be met, stating: "New powers over tax, spending and welfare are on their way to Scotland.

"The timetable is brisk, but achievable: a White Paper by November, and draft legislation published by January."

But Mr Salmond - who has identified the vow by the three Westminster leaders as being pivotal in the success of the No campaign - claimed the Labour and Conservative positions were now "irreconcilable".

He told the Murnaghan show on Sky News: "David Cameron doesn't think he can carry his own backbenchers, never mind the threat from Ukip, unless he links Scottish progress to changes in England.

"Ed Miliband doesn't want to do that because Labour would lose their majority over English business in the House of Commons. That is the log jam the Westminster leaders got themselves into.

"There is a big issue there, but shouldn't they have thought of that before they made a solemn vow and pledge to the Scottish people."

He added: "I don't see how they can be kept between David Cameron who says they must go in tandem with changes in England, and Ed Miliband who says they can't go in tandem with changes in England. These seem to be two irreconcilable positions from political interest at Westminster.

"It's the people who voted No because they believed these commitments from the Westminster leadership, these are the people who are feeling most angry, most hurt, most disappointed in Scotland today.

"The wrath of Khan will be as of nothing to the wrath of a No voter who has been gulled by the Westminster leadership."

Analysis of figures from the referendum showed that "the majority of Scots up to the age of 55 voted for independence, and a majority of Scots over 55 voted against independence," Mr Salmond said.

"I think that vow was really important and the people who are really angry in Scotland today are not the Yes campaigners, our opinion of the Westminster elite is really pretty low. The people who are really angry are those people who were persuaded to vote No by that vow, by that solemn pledge and are now already beginning to feel let down, angry, disappointed because it looks like they have been tricked."

He went on: "When you have a situation where the majority of a country up to the age of 55 is already voting for independence then I think the writing is on the wall for Westminster.

"I think the destination is pretty certain, we're only debating the timescale and the method."

He restated his view that a constitutional referendum is a "once in a generation" opportunity, but added: "There are many routes to independence."

Mr Salmond said: "This is a real thing, this generational change of opinion in Scotland, and I think the writing is on the wall for Westminster. It's a question of how fast and how far we get."

He also ruled out taking a seat in the House of Lords after he steps down as First Minister.

"My policy is to abolish the House of Lords," Mr Salmond said, adding that "rocks would melt with the sun" before he would "ever set foot in the House of Lords".

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