Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond

Demographics would see support for independence rising in the coming years, says outgoing First Minister

Alex Salmond has claimed that Scotland could declare itself independent without a referendum in the future.

The Scottish First Minister, who has said he is standing down after voters failed to back independence last week, said a referendum was the “best route” to statehood, but added that there were others.

He said if the Scottish Parliament was given more powers until “you have a situation where you’re independent in all but name … “then presumably, you declare yourself to be independent”.

“Many countries have proceeded through that route,” he said in an interview with Sky News’ Murnaghan programme.

Mr Salmond has previously said that he would accept the referendum result and that it was a “once in a generation” event. However, he said on Sunday that “there are always things can change circumstances”, saying if the UK voted to leave the European Union then Scotland or if the main UK parties failed to honour a pledge to devolve more power to Edinburgh then having another vote would be justified.

Mr Salmond also said that demographics would see support for independence rising in the coming years.

“I mean when you have a situation where the majority of a country up to the age of 55 is already voting for independence then I think the writing’s on the wall for Westminster,” he said.

“I think the destination is pretty certain, we are only now debating the timescale and the method.

“I think Scots of my generation and above should really be looking at themselves in the mirror and wonder if we by majority, as a result of our decision, have actually impeded progress for the next generation which is something no generation should do.”

Johann Lamont, the Scottish Labour leader, told The Daily Telegraph that Mr Salmond should not try to “overthrow the will of the Scottish people in some sort of coup”.

“Having decisively lost a democratic referendum on independence, Alex Salmond is now suggesting the nationalists can ignore the sovereign will of the Scottish people,” she said.

“His words are fundamentally undemocratic and an insult to the people of Scotland. Salmond may regret the result but this reaction is dangerous and wrong.”

Adam Tomkins, professor of public law at the University of Glasgow, said a unilateral declaration of independence would be illegal and “bonkers”.

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