Alex Salmond said he was surprised by Barack Obama’s support for Scotland remaining part of the UK, claiming it showed how alarmed David Cameron is at the prospect of losing the referendum.
“It was certainly surprising because in America the government had made it clear that it was staying studiously neutral in the democratic referendum that’s taking place in Scotland,” Scotland’s First Minister said yesterday.
Monday marks 100 days until the referendum to decide whether Scotland will leave the UK, and last week President Obama said the US had a strong interest in the UK remaining a “strong, robust, united and effective partner”, but added the decision was up to the people of Scotland.
Mr Salmond said: “David Cameron has been begging everybody internationally to say anything to help with his travails.”
Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One, he called on the Prime Minister for a head-to-head debate.
But his comments came as Andy Murray criticised Mr Salmond for waving a Saltire flag behind Mr Cameron after the Scottish tennis star won last year’s Wimbledon final.
In an interview published on Sunday, Murray, who has not revealed which way he will vote in the referendum, said he “didn’t like it when [Salmond] got the Scottish flag up at Wimbledon”.
The Olympic gold medallist told The Sunday Times Magazine: “I started competing for Great Britain when I was 11. I’m 27 now and I’ve been competing for Great Britain for 16 years.”
New findings published on Monday in the annual NatCen British Social Attitudes survey show that only 21 per cent of people in England think that Scotland should become independent. The report, “Does England Want Scotland to Leave or Stay?”, showed the growing support for Scottish independence in 2011 and 2012 which peaked at 26 per cent, reversed last year.