Election 2015

Alex Salmond: I joked about writing Labour Budget

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Media captionAlex Salmond, David Cameron and Ed Miliband give their reactions

Alex Salmond has said his suggestion he would be writing Labour's Budget if it won power in May was meant as a "light-hearted" remark.

The ex-Scottish first minister was filmed making the joke at an SNP fundraising event on 13 April.

The video was tweeted by David Cameron, who said voters would be shocked. But Mr Salmond said the prime minister clearly had a "sense of humour bypass."

Labour dismissed the suggestion of any SNP influence as "total nonsense".

Image copyright Twitter/@David_Cameron

With the polls pointing to another hung parliament there is much focus and debate on possible coalitions and deals between the parties to form a government.

The Conservatives are warning of a Labour-SNP tie-up, which they say would cause chaos and be bad for the UK.

Although Labour leader Ed Miliband has ruled out a formal coalition with the SNP if his party falls short of a majority on 7 May - the Conservatives say there could be a looser arrangement with Labour relying on SNP support to win Commons votes.

In reply, Mr Miliband has accused the Conservatives of putting the future of the UK at risk by "talking up" rather than "taking on" the SNP.

In the footage, Mr Salmond says: "The Scottish Labour leader will not be writing the Labour Party budget. But then I knew that already - because I'm writing the Labour Party Budget.

Mr Salmond said: "The point made in a light-hearted way was that Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy had been slapped down by his party bosses at Westminster and told that he would have no role in a Labour Budget.

"David Cameron is clearly a prime minister with both a people bypass and a sense of humour bypass."

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Media captionAndrew Neil and the BBC's economics editor Robert Peston were joined by leading politicians to discuss the economy

In his tweet David Cameron said "This footage will shock you: Alex Salmond laughs & boasts he'll write Labour's budget. Vote Conservative to stop it."

The video of Mr Salmond was raised during Wednesday's Daily Politics debate on the economy.

Labour's Treasury spokesman Chris Leslie said the SNP would have no influence on a Labour budget.

"It's total nonsense," he said, adding: "Why would we tie up in any way with... the SNP when we disagree so profoundly with them on the need to make sure we have fiscal responsibility?"

Put to him that independent economic think-tank the Institute of Fiscal Studies has said Labour's plans are broadly consistent with the SNP's, he disagreed.

"If you think that Stewart's proposal for additional borrowing is something that we would go along with, you are completely wrong," he told BBC economics editor Robert Peston.

But Stewart Hosie, the SNP's economic spokesman and parliamentary hopeful, took a different view, insisting that there was a deal to be done with Labour.

"I think there is a deal to be struck which is fiscally responsible and which actually lifts austerity from people, unlike Labour who signed up to £30bn of cuts in this year."

He stressed that under his party's plans there would be a "modest rise" in public spending and the deficit and debt would fall in every year of the next parliament.

But Mr Leslie replied: "We are not going to compromise in any Budget on the fundamental principle that we have to eliminate the current budget deficit as soon as possible in the next parliament."

Commenting on his former leader's remarks, Mr Hosie said: "I think he was having a bit of fun.... I thought it was quite amusing."

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