Scottish independence: Labour warns that an independent Scotland could cement Conservative Party's hold on Westminster

 

Scottish independence could cement the Conservative Party's hold on Westminster, according to Labour.

Scottish deputy leader Anas Sarwar said independence would be "a double blow", reducing Scotland's influence over "a right-wing Tory government" at Westminster that he claims would still have control over the nation's purse strings.

The Scottish Government wants to keep the pound under independence, but critics have warned that this would reduce Scotland's fiscal autonomy.

Mr Sarwar told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme: "The nationalists are saying they want to keep all financial control in terms of the Bank of England and currency with the rest of the UK.

"By keeping the same currency it would be controlled, in terms of the Financial Services Authority (FSA), down there, and also from the Bank of England. That gives us less independence, not more independence.

"We are reducing our influence, and at the same time we are increasing the likelihood of having a right-wing Tory government across the rest of the UK. That's a double blow for Scotland.

"One of the principles that I think all Scots are really proud of, and one of the principles that I am proud of as a Labour value, is that I don't believe that my values stop at the border between Scotland and England.

"We want fairness, equality and social justice for people just as much in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee as we do for those in Manchester and London."

The FSA was abolished last month and replaced by the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority.

Mr Sarwar was speaking ahead of the launch of a distinct Labour campaign to keep Scotland in the UK.

Former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown will be in Glasgow to help unveil the United With Labour drive, which distances the party from Tory and Liberal Democrat colleagues in the pro-Union Better Together movement.

SNP deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon today refuted Mr Brown's insistence that taxes would have to rise in an independent Scotland, describing the claim as "preposterous".

The Yes campaign has got work to do to convince Scots that they would be better off under independence, she told the same programme, but she challenged Labour to set out what powers it would offer Scotland if they vote no.

"So far we have failed to hear that," she said.

"I think there's something deeply ironic about what we're seeing from Labour today.

"They seem to be - and I can understand this - deeply uncomfortable about being in a campaign with the Tories.

"They are trying to declare their own independence from that Tory-led campaign but they would deny Scotland independence and leave us part of a Westminster system which means that we get Tory governments that we don't vote for."

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