UK Politics

Salmond Budget claims 'bluster and bluff' says Miliband

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Media captionEd Miliband: Alex Salmond is at it again - a combination of bluster and bluff"

Ed Miliband has accused Alex Salmond of "a combination of bluster and bluff" after the former SNP leader claimed his party could hold the balance of power after the election.

Speaking in Clydebank, Mr Miliband said the only people writing a future Labour Budget would be himself and shadow chancellor Ed Balls.

He added: "It's not going to be Alex Salmond - not in a million years."

Mr Miliband also said he was working hard for a Labour majority.

Mr Salmond, who is standing for Westminster in the Gordon constituency, told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday that it would be "very good for Scotland" if there are a much larger number of SNP MPs after the election.

"If you hold the balance, then you hold the power," he said.

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Image caption Alex Salmond said on Sunday a Labour minority government would have to negotiate its Budget

Asked if that meant a Labour chancellor would have to negotiate their Budget with the SNP, he replied: "Yes, any minority government has to negotiate in order to win a majority for its proposal. That is patently obvious. To deny that is to deny reality."

'Simple choice'

But speaking to Labour activists on Monday, Mr Miliband said: "Frankly, Alex Salmond is at it again. And it is a combination of bluster and bluff."

Mr Salmond also said on Sunday that he believed a "vote-by-vote arrangement" between a minority Labour government and the SNP is the most likely outcome of the election.

But Mr Miliband said he wanted a majority Labour government.

He said: "The only way that I am going to be the prime minister changing this country is if you vote Labour. That is the simple choice at this election."

He added: "How other parties decide to vote on the basis of a Labour Queen's Speech is up to them."

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Image caption Mr Miliband was speaking as a new poll suggested Labour could lose most of its seats north of the border

Mr Miliband also repeated a pledge his party will deliver more power for the Scottish Parliament.

He said: "We will deliver a home rule bill for Scotland in our first Queen's speech. More powers over social security, over jobs, over income tax. The vow delivered, on time and in full by a Labour government."

He attacked the SNP's plans for full fiscal autonomy for Scotland, saying they would extend austerity north of the border.

Barnett formula

The Labour leader said: "That means the SNP fight this election still proposing to end the sharing of resources across the UK, the principle of redistribution.

"They are campaigning for the end of the Barnett Formula, replacing it with a reliance on risky and unpredictable oil revenues - revenues which even Nicola Sturgeon admits are astonishingly hard to predict."

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Media captionThe deputy leader of the SNP says he can not understand why Ed Miliband was "saying these silly things"

And he said Labour will put an end to "Tory austerity".

"Tory austerity makes it so much harder for us to educate the young," he said. "Tory austerity makes life insecure for the old, Tory austerity undermines our NHS and our vital public services in every single part of the UK.

'Promote Scotland'

"So we will put paid once and for all to Tory austerity with a Labour government."

His comments came as a new ICM/Guardian poll suggested Labour faces losing most of its 41 seats in Scotland on 7 May.

SNP deputy leader Stewart Hosie said Mr Miliband had "lost the plot" and would be foolish to reject an SNP deal as it would make him "the handmaiden of another Tory government".

"If we are in a position to help we are prepared to help a Labour administration, but that will come at a price," he told the BBC's Daily Politics.

"If it is a confidence and supply arrangement, we need to agree on a number of things at the outset.

"It it is a vote-by-vote basis then there needs to be negotiations throughout the course of the parliament."

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