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21 Sep, 2014 18:30

Scots were tricked into voting ‘No’ – Salmond

Scots were tricked into voting ‘No’ – Salmond

London politicians gulled Scottish voters out of independence by making a false “vow” to grant Glasgow extra powers, First Minister Alex Salmond has said. He also raised the prospect of another referendum, saying the break-up is inevitable.

Alex Salmond, leader of the 'Yes' campaign and the outgoing head of the Scottish National Party (SNP), told the BBC's Sunday Politics program that the UK government won last Thursday's referendum vote by 55-45 percent by deceiving the people ahead the referendum and promising to rapidly expand Scottish autonomy.

"I think the vow was something cooked up in desperation for the last few days of the campaign and I think everyone in Scotland now realizes that," said Salmond.

"It is the people who were persuaded to vote no, who were misled, who were gulled, who were tricked effectively," he added. "They are the ones who are really angry."

Just over a week before the historic referendum, Britain’s major political parties promised Scots more autonomy over tax and welfare spending if they chose to stay in the UK.

Following the referendum results and Scotland’s decision to stay in the union, British Prime Minister David Cameron said that constitutional reforms, including in Scotland, would not be delivered until after the general election, and the changes would be linked with those in Britain.

Pro-union protestors chant and wave Union Flags during a demonstration at George Square in Glasgow, Scotland September 19, 2014. (Reuters/Cathal McNaughton)

Salmond said he was “surprised by the speed” in which the UK authorities started breaking their vow, adding that they are “totally shameless in these matters.

"Within 24 hours they started to tear up the commitments," he said.

On Sunday, Downing Street dismissed Salmond’s claims that Britain's three major political parities are continuing to disagree over handling the process of devolution.

The spokesman for David Cameron said the government is still committed to move forward with the new powers over tax, spending, and welfare, stating the issues are to be agreed on by November and the legislation is to be drafted by January.

Salmond raised the prospect of a future referendum, which could be justified if the UK parties fail to honor their pledge. He said that in his “personal view,” a referendum could only be staged around once in every 20 years. However, “there are always things can change circumstances.”

In another interview with Sky News’ Murnaghan program on Sunday, Salmond elaborated on the issue, saying the break-up of the UK is inevitable and is only a matter of time.

Reuters/Cathal McNaughton

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

“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.”

He argued that there might be other ways to break ties with the UK, including Scotland's parliament gaining more leverage and then declaring independence. However, he stressed that a referendum still remains “the best route.”

Salmond, who announced his resignation on Friday, told BBC that he will still “be part of the political process,” but he wants to give a chance to others after serving as leader of the SNP for two ten-year stretches.