Magazine article Public Finance

Unionist Parties Gang Up against SNP Independence Plans

Magazine article Public Finance

Unionist Parties Gang Up against SNP Independence Plans

Article excerpt

Scottish opposition parties have united to resist plans for a referendum on independence announced by First Minister Alex Salmond.

Launching a white paper, Choosing Scotland's future, in Edinburgh on August 14, Salmond promised a 'new chapter in Scottish polities' and said 'we are now united in a belief that no change is no longer an option.

The days of top-down government delivered to an 'unsuspecting and compliant population were over, he said. 'This debate, one focused on the question of the next stage of selfgovernment, demands the attention of every Scot."

The Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative leaders jointly called for the Scottish National Party to drop its plan. They described it as a waste of public money, as there was no possibility of Salmond securing backing for a referendum, which he would like to take place in 2010, due to his party's lack of an overall majority.

The three Unionist parties also underlined their objection to any plan that was designed to break up the UK. However, they agreed, for the first time, to jointly examine the case for more powers for the Parliament.

'We are willing to enter into debate jointly about the way in which devolution within the UK can best develop in the years to come and we believe colleagues in Westminster have a role to play in that debate,' the parties said in a statement.

During the run-up to the May election, the Scottish Labour Party declared its opposition to greater powers for the Parliament Its latest position is understood to have the backing of Prime Minister Gordon Brown. …

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