Alex Salmond: Labour will pay the price 'for a generation' after campaigning with Conservatives in referendum

Outgoing SNP leader claims Labours actions will not be ‘forgotten or forgiven’

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Labour can expect to pay the price “for a generation” for campaigning with the Conservatives in the Scottish referendum, Alex Salmond has said.

The outgoing SNP leader told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show that there was a “deep resentment” in Scotland at the way Labour was prepared to bury its differences with the Tories in order to campaign for a ‘No’ vote in the referendum.

He said: “The role, hand-in-glove, shoulder-to-shoulder with the Conservative Party in the referendum campaign is not going to be forgotten or forgiven for a generation in Scottish politics.

“Every single Labour personality who has been pictured in the referendum campaign in that pose – that hand-in-glove, shoulder-to-shoulder pose – will pay a heavy price for many years to come,” he said.

 

Mr Salmond’s comments come as opinion polls suggest Labour is set to lose the majority of its Westminster seats to the SNP, while the party itself is yet to elect a new leader following the resignation of Johann Lamont and her deputy Anas Sarwar.

Jim Murphy, who launched his leadership campaign in Edinburgh on Saturday, is widely expected to take over as the Labour’s Scottish head. He resigned his position in the shadow cabinet as international development secretary on Sunday, stating that he wants to dedicate himself "full-time to changing Scotland and changing the Scottish Labour Party".

Mr Salmond was dismissive of the prospects that Mr Murphy could restore Labour’s fortune in Scotland on the programme.

He said that Mr Murphy had spent his entire political career at Westminster and never previously expressed any interest in Scottish constitutional development, “except of course to try and stop it”.

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Jim Murphy launches his campaign in Edinburgh on Saturday

Many believe Mr Murphy will step down from his constituency seat ahead of the general election next year, but senior Labour figures have told the Independent on Sunday they fear that his standing in a by-election before the 2016 Scottish election is too risky, meaning the party could soon have a Scottish leader who does not hold any elected office either in Westminster or Holyrood.

Despite Mr Salmond’s criticisms however, he refused to rule out the possibility of the SNP joining in a coalition with Labour in the event of another hung parliament at Westminster, but acknowledged that the prospect was “unlikely”.

Mr Salmond indicated that he was still considering whether to try to make a Westminster comeback at the general election.

"I am going to make up my mind in a few weeks what I shall do," he said.

"The things I've said is I intend to continue in politics and I intend to continue to represent the people of the North East of Scotland if they wish to elect me."

Additional reporting by PA

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