Salmond ‘dithering’ over referendum

By staff

David Cameron pressured Alex Salmond into holding an early referendum on Scottish independence today, when he addressed the Scottish Conservative party conference.

The prime minister stressed how the Westminster government has pushed ahead with further devolution pledges giving Holyrood control over £10 billion of taxes while Mr Salmond delayed the referendum until 2014.

“I promised respect and that is exactly what we are giving, Scotland’s two governments and parliaments working together. But on the referendum, the people of Scotland were promised a clear choice,” Mr Cameron said.

“People have to know one way or the other. So my message to the first minister is this; we’ve delivered on devolution, stop dithering about an independence referendum, start delivering your manifesto commitment, and fulfil the promise you gave to the Scottish people.”

The government wants a speedier timetable for the vote with no third 'devo-plus' option. That view was recently backed by Scotland’s financial services industry, which is concerned about the investment implications of a drawn out pre-vote period.

Mr Salmond wants as much time as possible before the vote, to boost the current level of support for independence.