'Fundamentally confused': Alex Salmond slams David Cameron's EU speech
Wednesday 23 January 2013
David Cameron's European Union referendum speech has “completely changed” the debate in Scotland ahead of the 2014 independence referendum, according to First Minister Alex Salmond.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) leader said Eurosceptics in the Prime Minister's Conservative Party pose the biggest threat to Scotland's position in the EU.
"This was a fundamentally confused speech by the Prime Minister, which is painfully short on detail," said Mr Salmond in a statement.
"On the one hand he is trying to appease the Eurosceptics on his own backbenches and on the other he is trying to appear as a European reformer.
"He is trying to ride two horses at the same time and it is inevitable he will fall off before long.
"This completely changes the nature of the debate in Scotland.
"The Westminster parties have consistently claimed that a referendum on Scotland's independence causes uncertainty.
"It is now clear the persistent undercurrent of Tory Euroscepticism poses the biggest threat to Scotland's position in the EU and has now helped to hole below the waterline the baseless scaremongering of Alistair Darling and the rest of the No campaign."
Mr Darling, the Labour MP and former Chancellor, leads the Better Together pro-UK campaign group.
Scotland will decide in autumn next year whether to leave the UK and become an independent state, and by extension a full member of the EU in its own right.
One argument in the pro-UK camp is that Scotland's place in the EU is uncertain if voters opt for independence in 2014.
Mr Cameron's European referendum plan raises the prospect that Scotland could choose to stay in the UK but later find itself out of the EU after a vote in 2017.
The Prime Minister announced his plan in a speech in London.
He promised an in/out referendum on the UK's membership of the EU if the Conservatives win the next general election in 2015.
The party's manifesto will ask for a mandate to negotiate a "new settlement" for Britain in Europe, he said.
He wants a new EU treaty to reshape the 27-nation bloc, resolve the problems of the eurozone, allow the transfer of powers back from Brussels to national governments and make Europe's economy more competitive and its institutions more flexible and democratically accountable.
Mr Cameron said it was his "strong preference" to enact these changes for the whole EU, not just Britain alone.
But if other states are unwilling to go ahead with a new treaty, he said he is ready to renegotiate the UK's position to achieve a settlement "in which Britain can be more comfortable and all our countries can thrive".
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 4 Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary: Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Greece elections: Greek PM Alexis Tsipras takes aim at 'neo-liberal' Europe as country gears up for prolonged austerity battle
Pornhub star Mia Khalifa receives death threats after being ranked the site's top adult actress
Prince Philip set to be knighted by Australia: Celebrate by reading his greatest gaffes
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
Leaked documents show Ukip leaders approve NHS privatisation once it becomes more 'acceptable to the electorate'
£30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: We are recruitment for an Assistan...
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of design...
£23000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to be a part of ...
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This growing successful busines...