Former Chancellor Alistair Darling calls on young Scottish voters to support the union

Alistair Darling criticised the Scottish Government's white paper on independence in a speech on Thursday

SNP plans for a currency union with the rest of the UK if Scotland becomes independent are “increasingly dead in the water,” former Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling has said.

The leader of the pro-union Better Together campaign attacked the Scottish Government's white paper which sets out its vision for independence.

In a speech to young voters in Edinburgh, he criticised the Nationalist’s proposals on a range of issues including currency, universities, debt and borrowing.

He also argued that there was “no way” the EU would allow an independent Scotland to charge tuition fees to students from south of the border.

Mr Darling called on SNP leader and First Minister Mr Salmond to bring forward legal advice on this issue as well as devise a new plan for Scotland's currency arrangements.

He added Mr Salmond has already “damaged his credibility” over the Scottish Government's legal advice in relation to EU membership, and called the white paper “largely a work of fiction” and a “catalogue of promises”.

Read more:  Scottish Independence: Alex Salmond delighted as UK promises to pay Scotland's debts

Scottish independence: David Cameron aims to win Scots' hearts  

Speaking on the SNP's proposed currency union, which would enable it to keep the pound, Mr Darling said: "Does he not accept that a currency union needs both Scotland and the rest of the UK to agree to enter into it?

“Should he not accept a currency union means both sides have to agree each other's budgets?

"That is what is happening in Europe. And that is why it is difficult to see anyone signing up to it. That is why it is increasingly dead in the water,” Mr Darling said.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Darling went on to say it was difficult to see why even independence supporters would back a currency union.

He likened the idea to a creation by illustrator Heath Robinson, known for his drawings of complicated machines.

“What he is proposing is a real Heath Robinson affair. If I was a nationalist, I couldn't even see why I would sign up for it.”

SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson described Mr Darling's speech as "poor and panicky".

He said a poll, commissioned by the SNP, showed support for the continued use of the pound in the event of independence.

Mr Robertson said: "Mr Darling's own No campaign expert adviser, Professor Gallagher, agrees that Scotland will not be part of the euro - something else he shows no indication of being aware of."

PA

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