Scotland politics

Scottish referendum: Alex Salmond says 'No' voters were 'tricked'

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Media captionAlex Salmond: Party leaders "misled 'No' voters"

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has said "No" voters in last week's independence referendum were "tricked" by a late vow of more devolved powers.

He accused the three UK party leaders of "reneging" on the pledge they made days before Thursday's referendum which he claimed won the "No" vote.

Voters in Scotland rejected independence by 55% to 45%.

No 10 dismissed his claims, as the three parties continue to disagree over handling the process of devolution.

In other developments:

  • Ed Miliband has said the pledge of further devolution to Scotland will be fulfilled "no ifs, no buts" amid a row over additional powers for England
  • The SNP says it has signed up more than 10,000 new members since the referendum vote, bringing its total membership to more than 35,000
  • The Scottish Greens said more than 2,000 new members had signed up, with the Scottish Socialist Party, which also backed independence, reporting well over 1,000 new members
  • Mr Salmond reveals plans to write a book about the campaign entitled 100 Days
  • Half the Scottish cabinet publicly back Alex Salmond's deputy, Nicola Sturgeon, to replace him as SNP leader
  • Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said English voters would be "furious" if they did not get similar powers to those being touted for Scotland
  • The prime minister is reported to have invited senior Tories to Chequers on Monday to discuss the devolution plans
  • Ed Miliband rules out Gordon Brown returning to frontline politics after his key role in the referendum campaign but holds out the prospect of Alistair Darling doing so

Meanwhile, about 1,000 people, including politicians from across the divide, have attended a service of reconciliation at St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh.

Politicians each lit a single candle, symbolising a commitment to work together in the best interests of the country.

Church of Scotland Moderator the Rt Rev John Chalmers said: "How we voted on one particular day does not define who we are."


'Healing divisions'

Image copyright PA

Vanessa Barford, BBC News, Edinburgh

Standing outside the historic St Giles Cathedral, straddled between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace on the Royal Mile at the heart of the capital, members of the congregation of the Church of Scotland's service of reconciliation are moved.

"The sermon was spot on - the analogy of crossing the line together, moving forwards together with dignity despite our differences was a profoundly good message," says 54-year-old Shelagh Atkinson.

Friends James Gillies, 22, who voted "Yes", and Sam Wylie, who lives in Newcastle but would have voted "No" if he'd had a vote, agree. "It was powerful stuff - the idea of the last being first - and the first being last. There's a lot of ill feeling and it great to see the Church doing something so prominent," says James.

The service was full of the symbolism of unity. Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander and Scotland's Finance Secretary John Swinney both gave a reading. There was a lighting of a candle in a commitment to work together. The congregation shook their hands in friendship.

Rt Rev John Chalmers spoke about the referendum being a "momentous time" which has resulted in some being elated and relieved, and others being desperately disappointed. But he said now was a "time to unite, a time to walk together". To act with responsibility, maturity and grace and come together for a common good - the future of their country.

As the congregation bellowed out the final hymn with a crescendo that echoed throughout the cathedral, the call for unity was loud, clear, and unfaltering.

Read more from Vanessa


Mr Salmond told the BBC he thought the pledge made by the three leaders days before Thursday's referendum was "decisive" in winning the historic vote for the "No" side, because voters thought they "could get something anyway without the perceived risk" of independence.

Speaking to the Sunday Politics programme, he also accused the Westminster parties of going back on their promise to start the process immediately after the referendum. Better Together had told Scottish voters the motion would be presented to Parliament on Friday.

'Cooked up in desperation'

"I am actually not surprised they are cavilling and reneging on commitments, I am only surprised by the speed at which they are doing it. They seem to be totally shameless in these matters," he said.

"The prime minister wants to link change in Scotland to change in England. He wants to do that because he has difficulty in carrying his backbenchers on this and they are under pressure from UKIP.

"The Labour leadership of course are frightened of any changes in England which leave them without a majority in the House of Commons on English matters.

"I think the vow was something cooked up in desperation for the last few days of the campaign and I think everyone in Scotland now realises that."

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Media captionAlistair Darling: "Agreement by the three parties... is non-negotiable"
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Media captionJohn Swinney accuses Westminster party leaders of "backsliding"

Prime Minister David Cameron, Labour leader Ed Miliband and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg made the signed pledge on Tuesday.

Under the plans, the legislation would be delivered by whichever government comes into office at next year's general election. A motion to be laid before the UK Parliament on Monday sets out a tight timetable.

Downing Street insisted the timetable would be followed, while Better Together campaign leader Alistair Darling said it was non-negotiable.

But there is continuing disagreement between the three Westminster parties over how the process of devolution should be handled.


James Landale, BBC political correspondent

Lingering in the margins of Labour's conference on Sunday has been a simple question with a complicated answer: is the promise of further devolution to Scotland conditional on England getting the same?

Let us examine the evidence.

Early on Friday morning, a man relieved still to be prime minister of the United Kingdom stood in Downing Street and categorically linked the two issues together.

David Cameron said: "The question of English votes for English laws - the so-called West Lothian question - requires a decisive answer.

"So, just as Scotland will vote separately in the Scottish Parliament on their issues of tax, spending and welfare so too England, as well as Wales and Northern Ireland, should be able to vote on these issues and all this must take place in tandem with, and at the same pace as, the settlement for Scotland."

But what do "in tandem with" and "at the same pace as" actually mean?

Read more from James


Mr Cameron wants changes to move in tandem with plans to make sure only English MPs can vote on English laws - but Labour wants a slower process with further debate.

The Lib Dems warned Mr Cameron's decision to link the issues could see him forced to renege on his promise to the people of Scotland.

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Mr Miliband said the timetable for Scottish devolution and proposals for English votes on English laws "did not depend on each other".

"People right across the country are going to say David Cameron made a promise, he didn't make a conditional promise, and he's going to be kept to that," he said.

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Media captionEd Miliband: "We're going to deliver. No ifs, no buts"

On the Daily Politics, Labour's shadow business secretary, Chuka Umunna, said it was "dishonourable and in bad faith" for the prime minister to link the two issues.

Mr Clegg, writing in the Sunday Times, insisted there could be "no ifs, no buts" about delivering the extra powers promised to Scotland, and the package "cannot be made contingent on other constitutional reforms".

"By appearing to link it to the delivery of further devolution to Scotland, they risk reneging on the commitment made to the Scottish people that, in the event of a 'No' vote, new powers would come what may," he wrote.


Further powers: Parliamentary motion

That this House...

  • Welcomes the result of the Scottish independence referendum and the decision of the people of Scotland to remain part of the United Kingdom;
  • recognises that people across Scotland voted‎ for a Union based on the pooling and sharing of resources and for the‎ continuation of devolution inside the United Kingdom;
  • Notes the statement by the prime minister, deputy prime minister and leader of the opposition regarding the guarantee of and timetable for further devolution to Scotland;
  • Calls on the government to lay before Parliament a Command Paper including the proposals of all three UK political parties by 30 October and to consult widely with the Scottish people, civic Scotland and the Scottish Parliament on these proposals;
  • Further calls on the government to publish heads of agreement by the end of November and draft clauses for the new Scotland Bill by the end of January 2015.

Downing Street said the three pro-union parties had "made clear commitments on further powers" for Scotland and the government had "set out a clear timetable".

Echoing similar comments made by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Saturday, Mr Darling insisted the pledge for more powers would be acted upon within the stated timetable.

"The agreement reached between the three parties is non-negotiable," he told the Marr programme.

"It was promised, it's got to be delivered, and anyone who welches on that will pay a very heavy price for years to come."

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