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Poll puts pressure on Salmond over joining euro


Hamish Macdonell
Sunday 21 October 2012 21:49 BST
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon with First Minister Alex Salmond
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon with First Minister Alex Salmond (PA)

Alex Salmond – who is refusing to reveal whether he has received potentially problematic legal advice on Scotland's future in the EU – suffered a setback last night after a new poll showed that the vast majority of Scots think he is wrong.

Unionists believe an independent Scotland would have to re-apply for EU membership and might have to join the euro as a condition of membership.

Mr Salmond, the SNP leader, insists that Scotland would not have to reapply for membership so would not have to join the euro.

But the First Minister has refused to say whether he has received any legal advice on this issue, despite a demand from Scotland's Information Commissioner that he reveal this information.

Indeed, Mr Salmond has decided to go to court to defend his failure to reveal the existence of any legal advice. Unionists believe that any such document may undermine his public claims that the process of independence would be largely painless.

Yesterday the Better Together campaign, which is fighting for Scotland to stay in the Union, published a poll showing that three-quarters of Scots believe Mr Salmond is wrong to withhold this information.

The YouGov poll of more than 1,000 Scots found that 77 per cent believe the First Minister should reveal the existence of legal advice while just 13 per cent believe it should be kept secret, with the rest undecided. Even among SNP voters, more than 60 per cent believe Mr Salmond should reveal whether he received the advice.

Catherine Stihler, a Labour MEP who has been at the forefront of the campaign to get the SNP government to release the advice, said: "Once again, the SNP have displayed just how out of touch they are with the people of Scotland. They think that the best way to run the country is to do it from underneath a shroud of secrecy.

"This poll tells them, loud and clear, that the people of Scotland do not agree with them. They should listen to the voice of the people and release the advice that they have."

The SNP's deputy leader, Nicola Sturgeon, closed her party's annual conference by challenging the UK Chancellor, George Osborne, to dump his spending cuts policy. "Our economy needs a capital stimulus and it needs it now," she said.

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