PRIME Minister David Cameron today accused Alex Salmond of “dithering” over the independence referendum.
He called on the First Minister to “start delivering” on the SNP’s commitment to give Scots a “clear choice” about the country’s future.
Addressing the Scottish Conservative conference in Troon, Mr Cameron was expected to cite the Scotland Bill, which gives Holyrood limited extra powers over income tax and other areas, as an example of the UK Government delivering on its commitment on the constitution.
He was due to tell delegates: “This week we have reached agreement with the Scottish Government on the Scotland Bill. This is a Bill delivered in Westminster, supported by the Scottish Government.
“I promised respect and that is exactly what we are giving.
“But on the referendum, the people of Scotland were promised a clear choice. People have to know one way or the other.
“So my message to the First Minister is this: We’ve delivered on devolution, stop dithering about an independence referendum. Start delivering your manifesto commitment.”
Mr Cameron’s speech comes less than six weeks after another speech in Edinburgh when he said he was willing to consider a further extension of devolution if voters in Scotland rejected independence.
The Prime Minister’s accusation that the SNP was dithering over the referendum was due to be echoed in another speech at the Troon conference today by Scotland Office Minister David Mundell. He was due to claim Mr Salmond was acting as a “roadblock” to a referendum by insisting on an autumn 2014 date.
Mr Mundell was expected to say: “Scotland has two governments – and one of Scotland’s government’s has set out a credible plan for Scotland to have a legal, fair and decisive referendum so we can settle the question of independence once and for all. But the SNP government wants to deny the Scottish people the right to have their say on this crucial matter because Alex Salmond wants a 1000-day delay.”
He was set to say the SNP’s election victory last May gave the party a mandate to hold a single question referendum.
“But in government you have to be a realist and it would have been folly to have buried our heads in the sand and allowed Alex Salmond to have it all his own way. Left to him, Scotland would still be in the dark.
“The UK Government will ensure that any referendum on Scotland’s constitutional future will be legal, fair and decisive.
“Scotland deserves no less.”