Scottish National Party former leader Alex Salmond, in what looked like a powerful propaganda weapon for the Tories, said the SNP would use its “power” over a minority Labour government to tweak budgets in Scotland’s favour.
If Labour leader Ed Miliband could only enter Downing Street with SNP support, Mr. Salmond said his party would extract a high price.
Mr. Salmond said:
“If you hold the balance, then you hold the power. Hopefully that decisive block of SNP MPs will move the Labour Party in a different direction.”
Any deal with Labour would come at a high price, Mr. Salmond said. (Image: Andrew Marr Show)
On the eve of Mr. Miliband’s pre-election visit to Scotland, where polls indicate the SNP is heading for a landslide victory, Mr. Salmond’s comments serve as another nail in Labour’s coffin north of the border.
Tory defence minister Anna Soubry pounced on Mr. Salmond’s his comments in a round of broadcast interviews describing them as “terrifying”.
It was not long before the Conservatives released an election-campaign video (see below) – showing the former SNP leader playing a pipe as Mr. Miliband dances, with a voice of doom warning how Mr. Salmond would be able to ‘call the tune’.
As the SNP had ruled out any deal with the Tories, Jim Murphy, Scottish Labour leader said the SNP would have no chips to bargain with.
During an interview in the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr. Salmond said it would be excellent for Scotland if a decisive number of SNP candidates made it through in May’s general election.
When asked whether he meant that a Labour Chancellor would have to negotiate the Budget with the SNP, Mr. Salmond said “Yes, any minority government has to negotiate in order to win a majority for its proposal. To deny that is to deny reality.”
Ms. Soubry said the prospect of the SNP holding the balance of power is “terrifying”. (Image: Andrew Marr Show)
Mr. Salmond went on to say the a coalition would be unlikely, given that Labour says it has ruled out that possibility. So, it would probably be a vote-by-vote deal.
Mr. Salmond is convinced that Scottish independence will inevitably occur in the near future. He implied that a commitment to a new referendum could be included in his party’s manifesto for the 2016 Scottish elections.
Ms. Soubry, who appeared alongside Mr. Salmond in the Andrew Marr show, said:
“The thought that we are in a position whereby you could be actually controlling in the way you have described this United Kingdom, fills me with absolute horror. The audacity is astonishing: there was a wonderful debate in Scotland [last year], you lost it. We’re a United Kingdom – that’s what the people of Scotland wanted.”
Video – Tory video on Salmond-Miliband relationship
This Conservative campaign video warns of Mr. Salmond making Mr. Miliband dance to his tune.