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Labour 'to feel wrath of Scots for cosying up to Tories'

By Gavin Cordon

Labour politicians in Scotland will pay the price "for a generation" for campaigning alongside Conservatives in the independence referendum, Alex Salmond has said.

With opinion polls suggesting a collapse in the Labour vote in Scotland since the referendum in May, the outgoing SNP leader said there was deep resentment at the way the party had been prepared to bury its differences with the Tories to campaign for a No vote.

"The role, hand-in-glove, shoulder-to-shoulder with the Conservative Party in the referendum campaign is not going to be either forgotten or forgiven for a generation in Scottish politics," he said. "Every single Labour personality who has been pictured in the referendum campaign in that pose - that hand-in-glove, shoulder-to-shoulder pose - will pay a heavy price for many years to come."

Labour in Scotland is currently in turmoil following the resignation of the leader of the Scottish party Johann Lamont amid bitter recriminations.

While support for the SNP has surged since the referendum, recent opinion polls have suggested Labour could be left with just a handful of Scottish seats in Westminster after next year's general election, casting severe doubt on Ed Miliband's chances of entering No 10.

Mr Salmond was dismissive of the prospects that shadow international development secretary Jim Murphy - seen as the frontrunner to replace Ms Lamont - could restore the party's fortune.

He said that Mr Murphy had spent his entire political career at Westminster and never previously expressed any interest in Scottish constitutional development "except of course to try and stop it".

Despite his criticisms, he refused to rule out the possibility of the SNP joining a coalition with Labour in the event of another hung parliament at Westminster, although he acknowledged that the prospect was "unlikely".

Mr Salmond, who quit as First Minister after the No vote said: "Parties change sometimes, parties change their leaders sometimes, so we might get a different direction but I think that it's unlikely that the SNP would see itself in a Westminster coalition."

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