Scottish independence: Darling denies being sidelined by Better Together

Alistair Darling tells the BBC's Allan Little he will continue to lead the Better Together campaign and dismisses suggestions he had been "sidelined"

Better Together leader Alistair Darling has rejected claims he is being sidelined in the campaign to keep Scotland in the UK.

The Daily Mail claimed on Tuesday that Mr Darling had "effectively been replaced" by Douglas Alexander, Labour's shadow foreign secretary.

But Mr Darling, a Labour MP and former chancellor, said he intended to lead the campaign until the referendum.

The SNP said the Better Together campaign was "turning into a shambles".

Mr Darling was speaking in Edinburgh at the launch of a Better Together advertising campaign.

Recent interventions in the referendum debate have been made by prominent Labour figures including former prime minister Gordon Brown, ex-home secretary John Reid and Mr Alexander.

'Final stages'

Mr Darling said it had been his decision to bring in people to strengthen the campaign against independence as it reached the final stages.

He added: "It's important that everybody gets engaged in this, but I intend to lead this campaign through to the finish.

"I've strengthened the team because I think it's the important thing to do as we reach the final stages, and we'll continue to do everything we possibly can to get the biggest vote we possibly can come the 18th of September."

Mr Darling said he did not know where the rumours about his position had come from.

He added: "If you go and ask people what they're bothered about at the moment, what they're bothered about is the issues in this campaign.

"Frankly, who's doing what is of minor significance compared with the huge issues like what currency will we have."

Mr Darling went on to claim the SNP was "shutting down" any debate and criticism around the independence issue.

But speaking earlier on Wednesday, SNP Treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie said there was "panic in the No campaign which is turning into a shambles as Alistair Darling is sidelined because the Tories in charge of the campaign think he is 'lacklustre'."

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