Alex Salmond says No voters were 'tricked'

LONDON (The Telegraph): Alex Salmond has claimed No supporters were ?tricked? into rejecting independence and raised the prospect of another referendum as he reneged on his promise to help unite Scotland after the divisive vote. The First Minister appeared to blame elderly Scots, who were most hostile to leaving the UK, for holding back younger generations and argued that independence is inevitable after they die off. In a startling intervention, he also claimed that another referendum may not be required to break up Britain as the Scottish Parliament could unilaterally declare independence after gaining increasing numbers of powers. Mr Salmond promised in his concession speech in the early hours of Friday morning to accept the referendum?s result and urged Yes supporters to do the same. He pledged to help ?bring Scotland together? so that ?we shall go forward as one nation? before announcing that afternoon he will step down as First Minister and SNP leader in November. But neither he nor Nicola Sturgeon, his likely successor, attended a specially-convened Church of Scotland reconciliation service on Sunday morning amid growing concerns that the SNP intends to pursue a ?neverendum? strategy by pushing for another vote within a decade. Opinions polls conducted since Thursday?s have showed the economic risks of independence was the main reason it was rejected and a majority of Scots believe another referendum should not be staged for at least 15 years. Ed Miliband today joined Gordon Brown and Downing Street in stating unequivocally that a fast-track timetable for extra devolution set out in the campaign?s frantic fortnight would be implemented, regardless of whether a row over banning Scottish MPs from voting on English laws is resolved. But Mr Salmond told the BBC?s Sunday Politics programme that No voters would feel ?misled? and ?gulled? because the UK parties were reneging on a promise to draw up draft laws by January for devolving more powers. The First Minister said he had been genuinely convinced that the Yes campaign was going to triumph and claimed it had been the timetable that had convinced Scots tempted to back separation to vote No. ?I am actually not surprised they are cavilling and reneging on commitments, I am only surprised by the speed at which they are doing it. They seem to be totally shameless in these matters,? he said. ?The Yes campaign aren?t surprised by this development. It?s the people who were persuaded to vote No who were misled, who were gulled, who were tricked effectively. They are the ones who are really angry.? Mr Salmond said his ?personal view? was that a referendum could only be staged around once in every 20 years but added: ?There are always things can change circumstances.? He said another referendum would be justified if the UK left the EU against the wishes of a majority of the Scottish people in David Cameron?s referendum. Another vote could also be staged if the UK parties did not honour their extra powers pledge. In a separate interview with Sky News?s Murnaghan programme, the First Minister argued the break-up of Britain is inevitable despite having lost the referendum by 55 per cent to 45 per cent. ?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.? Mr Salmond said a referendum was the ?best route? to independence but others were available including getting more and more powers for the Scottish Parliament ?until you have a situation where you?re independence in all but name.? ?Then, presumably, you declare yourself to be independent. Many countries have proceeded through that route,? he said. He said he would disclose what the Yes campaign should have done differently in a book, titled ?A Hundred Days?, which he said would be coming out before Christmas. Mr Salmond added he would be happy to remain constituency MSP for Aberdeenshire East and vehemently rejected suggestions he would enter the Lords. But Willie Rennie, the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, said: ?I think the First Minister needs to calm down and take a bit of a breather. ?I hope that he will take some time for reflection and embrace the positive agenda for change rather than scrabbling round for a new grievance to nurse.? Mr Miliband rejected the First Minister?s claims about the powers timetable, saying there was ?no ifs, no buts? it would be implemented and it did not depend on the proposals for English votes on English laws. Speaking on the BBC?s Andrew Marr Show, the Labour leader said: ?People right across the country are going to say David Cameron made a promise, he didn?t make a conditional promise, and he?s going to be kept to that.? He was echoed by Alistair Carmichael, the Scottish Secretary, who said the English debate ?not act as any sort of brake or hindrance on our meeting the timetable that we have previously given an undertaking on.? Alistair Darling, the leader of the pro-UK Better Together campaign, said timetable was ?non-negotiable? and would be delivered. He added: ?Anyone who welshes on that will pay a very heavy price for years to come.? Downing Street said the three pro-UK parties had made a ?clear commitment on further powers? and Lord Smith of Kelvin had been appointed to oversee the timetable?s implementation

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