Scotland politics

Scottish independence: Salmond accuses 'bullying' ministers

Alex Salmond Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Alex Salmond said "arrogance" had been shown over the past week

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond has written to David Cameron to accuse his ministers of bullying behaviour.

He claimed recent interventions in the independence debate had been contrary to both the letter and spirit of the Edinburgh Agreement.

Earlier this week, UK Chancellor George Osborne said a vote for independence would mean walking away from the pound.

Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have indicated they are also opposed to a currency union.

On Monday, Mr Salmond is due to address pro-independence business leaders in Aberdeen.

He has vowed to "deconstruct" the chancellor's case against a currency union in a speech at the Business for Scotland event.

He will say George Osborne's position is "ill-thought out and misinformed".

Mr Salmond said: "The reality is the pound is as much Scotland's as the rest of the UK.

"By suggesting otherwise, the Westminster establishment - Tories, Labour and Lib Dems - are reaping a backlash from the ordinary people of Scotland, who feel this is an attempt to bully Scotland ahead of the democratic choice we all look forward to this September."

Key week

The referendum on Scottish independence will be held on 18 September, with voters being asked the Yes/No question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

On Friday, the Herald newspaper quoted a "senior coalition source" saying a yes vote might not guarantee independence if talks did not go smoothly.

In his letter to the prime minister, Mr Salmond urged him to distance himself from such a position as quickly and publicly as possible.

Mr Salmond said: "Failure to do so will be interpreted, at best, as complicity and, at worst, endorsement of this deeply anti-democratic position.

"We remember how Scotland reacted to the poll tax, and we have seen the groundswell of reaction to the arrogance we have seen in the past week. I am calling on them to cease and desist."

Downing Street has said the result of the Scottish independence referendum "will be fully respected".

A spokesman said: "As the PM made clear in his recent speech, 'if people vote yes in September then Scotland will become an independent country and there will be not going back'."

Image caption Chancellor George Osborne, Labour Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls and Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, want to block a currency union

Meanwhile, the leader of the Better Together campaign and former Chancellor, Alistair Darling, accused Mr Salmond of being a man "without a plan".

He said people in Scotland needed to know what currency would be in their wallet or purse if they left the UK.

He said: "With just over 200 days until the referendum Alex Salmond is running out of time to develop a plan for who would set our interest rates, control inflation and back-up our banks."

Mr Osborne's statement on currency union with an independent Scotland came in a speech in Edinburgh on Thursday.

He said he had arrived at this position by considering analysis from the Treasury and official advice from its leading civil servant.

Mr Salmond accused the three main UK parties of "bluff, bluster and bullying", and said the move would "backfire spectacularly".

BBC Scotland correspondent Laura Bicker said it had been a key week in the referendum debate.

The Edinburgh Agreement was the deal in October 2012 between the UK and Scottish governments for a referendum on independence for Scotland.