Scottish independence: Miliband accuses SNP of 'con'

The SNP and Labour leaders argued they were best placed to tackle inequality

Ed Miliband has accused the SNP of attempting to "con" Scottish voters into believing independence was the only way to achieve social justice.

The Labour leader described the Conservatives as "divided and demoralised" and predicted a Labour government "is on its way".

He also claimed the SNP would continue Tory policies after independence.

Mr Miliband was speaking as First Minister Alex Salmond set out his own vision of a fairer Scotland.

With just two weeks to go until the referendum on Scottish independence, and with polls suggesting the race is tightening, both sides have been making a concerted effort to win over undecided Labour voters, who are believed to be one of the keys to victory.

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Frankly it is an SNP con. They are going to continue Tory policies if they have independence, that is their real prospectus”

End Quote Ed Miliband Labour leader

In an interview with BBC Scotland's political editor Brian Taylor, Mr Miliband said the SNP had a "strange strategy" in the referendum campaign.

He added: "They want to tell people the Tories can't be beaten across the UK. I am here to say they can.

'Social justice'

"I want a fairer, more equal country. I know so many people in Scotland feel the country is not working for them and they will be wondering should they be voting 'No' in the referendum or should they be voting 'Yes'.

"My strong message is to vote 'No' in the referendum because a Labour government is on the way, a Labour government with genuine proposals for social justice."

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In this campaign, Ed Miliband and David Cameron are two peas in a pod. And of course the Labour Party have pledged to continue the austerity policies of the Conservative Party”

End Quote Alex Salmond First Minister

Mr Miliband said Labour was committed to a fairer tax system, with a new 10p rate and a higher 50p rate, as well as freezing energy bills, raising the national minimum wage, getting young people into work and increasing the powers of the Scottish Parliament.

He argued that the SNP, on the other hand, would have to cut corporation tax and public spending after independence, while failing to match Labour commitments on the 50p tax rate or energy price freeze.

He added: "Frankly it is an SNP con. They are going to continue Tory policies if they have independence, that is their real prospectus.

"If you want social justice you vote 'No' and we are going to elect a Labour government."

Mr Miliband later joined Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont to campaign in South Lanarkshire.

At the same time, Mr Salmond joined Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on a campaign visit to Glasgow to mark his 10 years as SNP leader, and to set out a vision of an independent Scotland 10 years from now.

Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon The first minister and his deputy celebrated Mr Salmond's decade as leader of the SNP with Yes supporters in Glasgow
'Secure economy'

The first minister said the vision for 2024 was of an independent Scotland "where everyone has the chance to get on in life and where opportunities are for the many not the few".

Responding directly to Mr Miliband's remarks, Mr Salmond accused the Labour leader of being "in bed with the Tory party" and said more than 200,000 Labour voters were planning to vote in favour of independence.

He added: "In this campaign, Ed Miliband and David Cameron are two peas in a pod. And of course the Labour Party have pledged to continue the austerity policies of the Conservative Party.

"He has no credibility left whatsoever. In contrast, we've introduced social justice policies in Scotland like, for example, the living wage."

"These are the policies that Scotland wants because Scotland wants the ability to create a more prosperous economy but also a just and fair society. That's what people are voting for in hundreds of thousands, they're moving to the Yes campaign, including 200,000 people plus who normally vote Labour who are now saying 'Yes'."

On 18 September, voters in Scotland vote "Yes" or "No" to the question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

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