Pincer movement: Clegg and Miliband take on Salmond

Simultaneous attack: Salmond faces Miliband and Clegg speeches.
Simultaneous attack: Salmond faces Miliband and Clegg speeches.

By staff

Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband made near-simultaneous speeches attacking Scottish minister Alex Salmond today, as the debate over Scottish independence hots up.

Addressing their Scottish spring conferences, both men took on the reputation of the popular SNP leader, who is expected to call a referendum in 2014.

"Alex Salmond came to England to brag about how he would turn Scotland into a progressive beacon," Mr Miliband said.

"There's just one problem. He forgot about what he had done in Scotland. When George Osborne handed him the plans to make cuts to capital spending of 11%, he didn’t just make those cuts. He almost doubled them."

He added: "If you want to create a country that is really a progressive beacon, why would you abandon the redistributive union that is the United Kingdom?

"I believe, and I believe that people across the United Kingdom believe, that we owe obligations to each other, that the successful Scottish entrepreneur owes obligations to the child born into poverty in London and the pensioner in Wales.

"Right now, every nation of the UK needs not isolation but solidarity."

Meanwhile, in Inverness, Liberal Democrat leader Mr Clegg argued the nationalists still have questions to answer about the practical problems with an independent Scotland.

The deputy prime minister also demanded the referendum be held "sooner, rather than later" and ask one simple question on independence – leaving out a third 'devo-max' option.


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