Alex Salmond accuses Scottish Government of 'flying white flag' over indyref2 as £20m fund is diverted
Alex Salmond has accused the SNP-led Scottish Government of flying the "white flag... when they should have been flying a Lion Rampant" as indyref2 campaign cash is diverted towards the cost-of-living crisis.
Delivering his Budget this afternoon, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the £20m that had been put aside for the holding of a second independence referendum will now be used to help those most at risk of fuel poverty.
Making the announcement, Swinney said the Scottish Government has a clear mandate for indyref2 and will commit funding for this, when possible.
But the Supreme Court has said that the Scottish Parliament lacks the authority to legislate for such a vote without Westminster permission, something the UK Government has said it will not grant.
Swinney told MSPs: "I intend to utilise the finance earmarked for a referendum on independence to meet provision to extend our Fuel Insecurity Fund into next year; a further £20m to address yet another failure of the United Kingdom and its policies."
The decision comes after Tory finance and economy spokesperson Liz Smith accused the SNP-majority administration of "sitting on money that could help pressed families and businesses now," saying: "It should immediately divert its vanity spending on a referendum that the courts have ruled out."
But Salmond, who now heads the Alba Party, said: "The people of Scotland were promised a referendum next year, no ifs, no buts, and there is a clear democratic mandate for one. Today the Scottish Government have flown a white flag on that constitutional imperative when they should have been flying a Lion Rampant.
"The Scottish Government's decision to concede that there will now not be an independence referendum is even more bizarre considering that only yesterday the SNP led a debate at Westminster calling for one."