David Cameron is avoiding a direct debate over Scottish independence
with Alex Salmond
Scottish independence: Cameron using Darling as ‘human shield’, warns SNP
by Jamie Mann
David Cameron has been accused by the SNP of “running scared” of a debate on Scottish independence and using former Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling as a “human shield”.
No 10 sources ruled out the possibility of the Prime Minister facing a live debate with Alex Salmond, with a senior Whitehall source saying that Mr Cameron would not fall for one of the First Minister’s “wheezes”, according to the Herald.
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The Nationalists said that Mr Cameron should head the Unionist side of the debate due to being head of the UK government which published papers on the issue of Scottish independence.
However, the Whitehall source said that any debate against independence should come from Mr Darling, who leads the pro-UK Better Together campaign. The Whitehall source’s logic appears on the surface to assume that Mr Salmond leads the ‘yes’ campaign in Scotland - however that position is held by Yes Scotland CEO, Blair Jenkins.
The former Labour Chancellor last week challenged the first minister to a debate after the Scottish government published a detailed white paper on independence in November, while Mr Salmond said he expected to debate with the Prime Minister.
SNP MSP Annabelle Ewing – who sits on the Referendum Bill Committee - said:
"David Cameron is running scared of a head-to-head debate in Scotland because he knows that – as a Tory Prime Minister the people of Scotland didn't vote for – he is the No campaign’s biggest liability.
"The fact that Alistair Darling is willing to act as David Cameron's human shield – which he used to criticise the Lib Dems for – leaves us all wondering exactly what the positive case for Westminster control actually is.”
The SNP insist that Mr Cameron should agree to the debate after promising to campaign for the Union with “every single fibre” when responding to news that there would be a referendum when the SNP won a majority in the Scottish parliament election in 2011.
Cartoon: Norrie Stewart
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