Scotland politics

Scottish Labour conference: Alistair Darling attacks SNP's currency plans

Scottish pound
Image caption The SNP wants to keep sterling if Scotland became independent

Former Chancellor Alistair Darling has attacked the SNP's plans for a currency union with the rest of the UK as a "straightjacket".

He said the Eurozone showed that big countries "call the shots" in currency unions, implying that England would do so if Scotland became independent.

Mr Darling was speaking at Scottish Labour's spring party conference.

The SNP has argued that continuing to use the pound would be in the best interests of Scotland.

Mr Darling told Labour members gathered in Inverness: "The Nationalists have been telling us that we can be part of a currency union and still follow a completely different economic policy from the rest of the UK.

"They say that we would be able to spend, tax and borrow what we want without any constraint.

"Either they don't understand how currency unions work or, like they did with Europe, they are trying to deceive us again.

"The Nationalists want us to walk away and for the rest of the UK to create a eurozone-style sterling zone just so that Scotland can keep the pound."

Mr Darling is head of the pro-Union campaign Better Together.

He told the conference: "You don't have to imagine what happens in a currency union. You only have to look at Europe to see exactly how it works. Germany is, in effect, telling the smaller countries what to do.

"No wonder there is a growing split in Nationalist ranks. A growing number of Nationalists realise that a currency union, whatever else it is, is not freedom."

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