Salmond offers Scots third option in independence debate

Alex Salmond looks set to offer voters a 'half-way house'
Alex Salmond looks set to offer voters a 'half-way house'

Alex Salmond is preparing to offer the Scottish electorate another, less drastic, option in the upcoming referendum on Scottish independence.

Voters will be able to choose either full independence from the United Kingdom, or full "financial autonomy" –where Scotland would be able to raise all its own taxes and run its own welfare system but remain part of the UK.

According to the Scottish first minister, full fiscal autonomy from Westminster is an increasingly attractive option to voters.

"I think there's a case for that. The case is essentially a democratic case," he said in an interview with the Guardian newspaper.

Mr Salmond has come under mounting pressure in recent weeks from the major parties to disclose details of his planned referendum on Scottish Independence, with David Cameron calling the leader of the SNP "a big feartie", for remaining tight-lipped about his referendum plans.

But the outspoken first minister hit back at Cameron's jibes.

"It's absurd for a prime minister to assume he has any legitimacy in instructing the Scottish parliament when it should hold a referendum on Scotland's constitutional future, when we've got an impeccable mandate reinforced by a massive popular assent while they've no mandate whatsoever. The days of Tory PMs telling Scotland what to do are over," he said.

The referendum, which is almost certain to take place after Mr Salmond won a landslide victory for the SNP in May's elections, looks set to take place before or around the next UK general election in May 2015.

However, in spite of Salmond’s popularity with Scottish voters, latest polling figures show only 38% of Scots support the idea of full independence from the UK.


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