Ed Miliband rules out new Scottish independence vote

Alex Salmond visits Clovenstone  Boxing Club, meeting local candidate Joanna Cherry and boxer Craig McEwan. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Alex Salmond visits Clovenstone Boxing Club, meeting local candidate Joanna Cherry and boxer Craig McEwan. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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Ed Miliband has said Labour will hold the SNP to its claim that last year’s independence referendum would be a “once in a lifetime” event.

His comment came as polls continue to show the SNP poised to make massive gains in Scotland at Labour’s expense.

Asked whether he would rule out a second referendum if he became prime minister, the Labour leader said: “I don’t want another referendum, definitely not.

“I’m giving you a very clear indication. There was a once in a lifetime decision – so called by the SNP. We’ll hold them to it.”

Meanwhile, David Cameron accused Ms Sturgeon of selling a “false dream” of separation to the Scottish people and predicted it would “fade” over time.

The Prime Minister said: “I can see there’s a nationalist appeal, but I profoundly believe we are so much better off as a United Kingdom.

“Sometimes in politics, dreams and visions can be terribly exciting and enthuse people, but when you go to the numbers there are huge holes in this case.

“I think this dream will fade, but it’s going to take some time and the parties like mine that believe in the UK are going to have to fight very hard.”

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy is due to return to the referendum theme today, saying people across Scotland need a government working for them, not for another vote on independence.

He will say: “The next Labour government will work flat out every single day to make life fairer for working-class Scots. That’s what will guide us in everything we do. The contrast with the SNP, who are planning another referendum as soon as they can get one, couldn’t be greater.

“The priorities of Scots going about their daily lives are paying the bills and making sure their families get on in life. A Labour government will help working families do exactly that.”

But SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon – who has repeatedly said this election is not about another referendum – is due to make a speech pledging the SNP stands ready to help implement progressive policies across the UK and appealing to people to back the party’s positive message, regardless of whether they voted Yes or No in last year’s referendum.

She is expected to say: “For me and my party, making Scotland stronger at Westminster – and helping to deliver progressive politics for the benefit of every part of the UK – are mutually supportive.

“As I have made very clear, this election is not about independence or about another referendum.

“It is about giving Scotland real power at Westminster and about making sure that the voices of families, communities and individuals the length and breadth of Scotland – those who voted Yes and those who voted No last year – are listened to.”

• Ms Sturgeon has also said she would still vote for Edinburgh South SNP candidate Neil Hay despite his Twitter posts, written under a pseudonym, comparing No supporters to Nazi collaborators and 
talking about elderly voters who can “barely remember their own names”.

Ms Sturgeon said Mr Hay had learned his lesson. She said she could not be “any firmer” in disciplining him and she would call for Scots to vote SNP in all 59 constituencies.

HAPPY BALLS DAY

Ed Balls became the third most talked about British politician on Twitter yesterday, propelled by the bizarre phenomenon known as Ed Balls Day. Ever since Mr Balls accidentally tweeted his own name four years ago, Twitter users have marked the anniversary by resending the tweet and wishing each other a Happy Ed Balls Day.

Alex hopes votes take a swing in favour of SNP

FORMER First Minister Alex Salmond helped add some punch to the election campaign when he visited Clovenstone Boxing Club in Wester Hailes.

He met members of the club and local hero professional middleweight boxer Craig McEwan and tried on some boxing gloves for size.

Mr Salmond was joined on the visit by Joanna Cherry, SNP candidate for the Edinburgh South West seat.

Former Chancellor Alistair Darling has stepped down as MP for the area and a recent poll by former Tory peer Lord Ashcroft showed the SNP on course to win the seat on May 7 with a 22 per cent swing from Labour to the Nationalists.

Ruth calls it for pensions policy in bingo hall visit

It was eyes down, look in as Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson visited a bingo hall in Leith.

She met staff and customers before spelling out the numbers in her party’s pensions policy.

She said: “We have introduced a triple lock so that pensions will rise by inflation or 2.5 per cent – whatever is the highest.

“This has seen the pension rise by £800 since 2010-11.

“Labour will tax you more, borrow more and spend more – and all pensioners would pay the price.

“The SNP is pulling a con trick on pensioners. It claims it wants to protect pensions and yet its plan for full fiscal autonomy would end the UK state pension overnight.”

Ms Davidson was accompanied on her visit to Mecca Bingo Club in Manderston Street by Iain McGill, Tory candidate for North Edinburgh and

Leith.

Elsewhere, Deputy First Minister John Swinney set out the SNP’s support for a cut in employers’ National Insurance contributions and a rise in employment allowance from £2000 to £6000 over the next four years. He claimed the measures would help smaller firms take on extra staff and support them in paying the living wage.