Scotland politics

Scottish independence: John Swinney clarifies Bank of England discussions

John Swinney Image copyright PA
Image caption John Swinney was asked to clarify his comments by Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser in Holyrood

Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney has clarified comments he made regarding discussions with the Bank of England over a currency union.

Last Wednesday Mr Swinney said the Scottish government had held "technical discussions" with the bank.

The Bank of England denied holding talks about future monetary arrangement proposals.

Mr Swinney has since said it was "not my intention" to give the impression the bank had done so.

He faced calls in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday to explain his initial claim that "the Scottish government has had technical discussions with the Bank of England regarding our proposal for a currency union."

Mr Swinney said: "Following agreement in March 2012 from Mervyn King and as set out to the Scottish Parliament, a number of technical and factual discussions have taken place with the Bank of England.

"Following the first meeting between the First Minister and Governor Carney in January of this year, it was agreed that the technical discussions inaugurated by his predecessor Lord King between the Scottish government and the Bank of England in advance of the referendum would continue.

"If by my choice of words last week I have given the impression that the Bank of England has been involved in negotiating a currency union I can say to Parliament that that was not my intention."

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser said after Mr Swinney's latest comments: "It is indicative of the Scottish government's scant credibility on this issue that John Swinney has admitted he misrepresented the position in relation to the Bank of England discussions.

"It should not have taken nearly a week for the SNP to embark on this humiliating climbdown."

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