Westminster Leaders Bound For Scotland

David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband are making the biggest "blunder'' yet of the pro-UK campaign by making a last minute trip to Scotland ahead of next week's independence referendum, the country's First Minister said.

Alex Salmond hit out after it was announced the Prime Minister and Labour leader are to miss Prime Minister's Questions tomorrow to come to Scotland in a bid to drum up support for the union.

The Scottish First Minister claimed: "The message of this extraordinary, last minute reaction is that the Westminster elite are in a state of absolute panic as the ground in Scotland shifts under their feet.''

In a joint statement the Tory leader, the Labour leader and the Liberal Democrat leader said they wanted to be out "listening and talking to voters'' about the choice they face on September 18.

It comes after the leaders of the three main pro-union parties in Scotland joined forces to pledge more powers for Scotland if voters reject independence.

Mr Cameron said: "Let's be frank, there's a lot that the political leaders disagree about but there's one thing that we all agree about passionately and that is that our United Kingdom is better off if we stay together.

"So tomorrow the right place to be isn't Westminster at Prime Minister's Questions, it is being in Scotland, listening to people, talking to people.''

As the three Westminster leaders declared their plans, the saltire was hoisted over Number 10 Downing Street.

But that was not without problems, with the Scottish flag initially making it part of the way up the flagpole before falling down.

Afterwards Mr Salmond hit out: "The No campaign is in complete and utter disarray, and they are making this farce up as they go along.''

A Panelbase poll for the pro-independence campaign group Yes Scotland earlier this month found that fewer than a fifth of Scots (19%) trust Mr Cameron to stand up for Scotland's interests, with just 17% believing Mr Miliband would do this and 12% trusting Mr Clegg to do so.

Mr Salmond said: "Together, David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg are the most distrusted Westminster politicians ever - and their collective presence in Scotland will be another massive boost for the Yes campaign.''

The SNP leader added: "The No campaign think that they are losing this campaign - and these hugely distrusted Westminster leaders trooping up to Scotland is only going to boost that process.

"It is also a commentary on the farcical event of their three Scottish representatives today, who had barely finished their press conference when it was obviously judged to be completely ineffective.

"The No campaign are making blunder after blunder, but this is by far the biggest yet.''

Mr Miliband said: "This is about the future of our country.

"That is why it is right that tomorrow I am not at Prime Minister's questions shouting across the despatch box, but I am in Scotland talking to the people of Scotland, listening to them.

"I want the Scottish people to be in no doubt that the view, I believe from the whole of the UK, is that, yes, things need to change, but let's change this together by voting No in the referendum.

"Please stay with us so we can change Britain, we can change Scotland together.''

He insisted there was a "very, very large measure of agreement'' between the parties over the key elements of the package of extra devolution to be offered in the case of a No vote.

"Over greater powers of taxation so that you can have a more progressive tax system if that is what is decided in the Scottish Parliament,'' he added.

"Over issues like housing benefit so that homes can be built and you can deal with the housing benefit issue. About getting people back to work, about apprenticeships, building on the powers that already exist.

"So there is a very, very large measure of agreement and there is no doubt, there is no uncertainty, that greater devolution will happen in the event of a No vote.''

Asked if a failure to prevent Scotland breaking away from the union would make his and David Cameron's leaderships untenable, he replied: "That doesn't arise. And in any case this is much bigger than any one individual.''

Alex Salmond hit out after it was announced the Prime Minister and Labour leader are to miss Prime Minister's Questions tomorrow to come to Scotland in a bid to drum up support for the union.

The Scottish First Minister claimed: "The message of this extraordinary, last minute reaction is that the Westminster elite are in a state of absolute panic as the ground in Scotland shifts under their feet.''

In a joint statement the Tory leader, the Labour leader and the Liberal Democrat leader said they wanted to be out "listening and talking to voters'' about the choice they face on September 18.

It comes after the leaders of the three main pro-union parties in Scotland joined forces to pledge more powers for Scotland if voters reject independence.

Mr Cameron said: "Let's be frank, there's a lot that the political leaders disagree about but there's one thing that we all agree about passionately and that is that our United Kingdom is better off if we stay together.

"So tomorrow the right place to be isn't Westminster at Prime Minister's Questions, it is being in Scotland, listening to people, talking to people.''

As the three Westminster leaders declared their plans, the saltire was hoisted over Number 10 Downing Street.

But that was not without problems, with the Scottish flag initially making it part of the way up the flagpole before falling down.

Afterwards Mr Salmond hit out: "The No campaign is in complete and utter disarray, and they are making this farce up as they go along.''

A Panelbase poll for the pro-independence campaign group Yes Scotland earlier this month found that fewer than a fifth of Scots (19%) trust Mr Cameron to stand up for Scotland's interests, with just 17% believing Mr Miliband would do this and 12% trusting Mr Clegg to do so.

Mr Salmond said: "Together, David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg are the most distrusted Westminster politicians ever - and their collective presence in Scotland will be another massive boost for the Yes campaign.''

The SNP leader added: "The No campaign think that they are losing this campaign - and these hugely distrusted Westminster leaders trooping up to Scotland is only going to boost that process.

"It is also a commentary on the farcical event of their three Scottish representatives today, who had barely finished their press conference when it was obviously judged to be completely ineffective.

"The No campaign are making blunder after blunder, but this is by far the biggest yet.''

Mr Miliband said: "This is about the future of our country.

"That is why it is right that tomorrow I am not at Prime Minister's questions shouting across the despatch box, but I am in Scotland talking to the people of Scotland, listening to them.

"I want the Scottish people to be in no doubt that the view, I believe from the whole of the UK, is that, yes, things need to change, but let's change this together by voting No in the referendum.

"Please stay with us so we can change Britain, we can change Scotland together.''

He insisted there was a "very, very large measure of agreement'' between the parties over the key elements of the package of extra devolution to be offered in the case of a No vote.

"Over greater powers of taxation so that you can have a more progressive tax system if that is what is decided in the Scottish Parliament,'' he added.

"Over issues like housing benefit so that homes can be built and you can deal with the housing benefit issue. About getting people back to work, about apprenticeships, building on the powers that already exist.

"So there is a very, very large measure of agreement and there is no doubt, there is no uncertainty, that greater devolution will happen in the event of a No vote.''

Asked if a failure to prevent Scotland breaking away from the union would make his and David Cameron's leaderships untenable, he replied: "That doesn't arise. And in any case this is much bigger than any one individual.''

Recently Played Tracks

To listen live, choose your preferred location:

Go

On TV: 15 Sleeps Til Santa!

11am - 12pm

Watch heart TV

  • The Pogues, Kirsty Maccoll Fairytale Of New York

    10:59

    iTunes

  • Tom Jones & Cerys Matthews Baby It's Cold Outside

    10:55

    iTunes

  • Spice Girls 2 Become 1

    10:51

    iTunes

  • Ariana Grande Santa Tell Me

    10:48

    iTunes

Heart VIP

Local

Listening To Radio Win With Heart

Make Heart the soundtrack to your day and you could be a winner with great prizes up for grabs throughout the day.

Follow Heart on Twitter