Darling reveals splits in Tory-led no campaign

Alistair Darling’s uncomfortable relationship with his Tory colleagues in the anti-independence campaign has been laid bare after his admission that the UK is “going backwards” under Conservative rule, while saying he doesn’t expect Tories to be given a prominent role in the No campaign.

In an interview with the Independent on Sunday, Mr Darling reveals his discomfort that working closely with his Tory partners is causing, stating that he believes “there is probably a restricted role that the Conservatives from the Home Counties can play”.

That plea for a restricted role also stands in stark contrast to the anti-independence campaign’s refusal to accept that funding for the referendum should be restricted to those who will be eligible to vote in the referendum.

The former Chancellor also states that the UK is “going backwards, not forwards”, but offers no explanation of why he believes it is better for Scotland’s economic fortunes to continue to be hitched to a UK Government that is stifling growth.

The interview also saw Alistair Darling repeat an inaccurate claim that the UK is the second biggest international aid donor, despite official statistics categorically showing that this is false.

Commenting, SNP MSP Gordon MacDonald said:

“The No campaign is badly split, and Alistair Darling’s comments have exposed the problem at the heart of the anti-independence movement – it is led by a deeply unpopular Tory Government that the people of Scotland overwhelmingly reject.

“And if there was ever any doubt, this interview makes clear just how much difficulty Alistair Darling is having working hand in glove with the Tories.

“The knot he is tying himself in seems to have driven him to repeating false statements over UK overseas aid, despite the anti-independence campaign’s error having previously been pointed out.

“It’s pretty clear that the ‘restricted role’ that Alistair Darling has in mind for Home Counties Tories is bankrolling his campaign, although the Tories’ latest sabre-rattling suggests they have other ideas.

“Every time the Tories at Westminster try to stick their oar into the debate on Scotland’s future his heart must sink a little, yet he cannot afford to put them back in their place.

“It takes some impressive contortionism for Alistair Darling to simultaneously try to argue that the UK Government is destroying the economy but that it should still be responsible for the major economic decisions affecting Scotland.

“The question that Alistair Darling should ask himself is why he believes it is better for Scotland’s economic prospects to be determined by a UK Government that in his own words is ‘going backwards, not forward’, instead of by a parliament 100% elected by people in Scotland.”