Alex Salmond reaches out to Scottish Labour voters in independence push

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 April, 2014, 6:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 April, 2014, 6:00am

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond yesterday urged Scots to look beyond party politics and break the 307-year union with England when they vote in an independence referendum in September.

Closing the Scottish National Party's (SNP) last conference before the ballot on September 18, Salmond said a vote for independence was not a vote for his party or for him but a way to put Scotland's future in its own hands.

His appeal comes after a narrowing in opinion polls that has for the first time in the SNP's 80-year history made independence look a possibility, with both sides now trying to convince up to 15 per cent of voters who remain undecided.

Salmond promised to form an all-party group in the case of a "Yes" vote to negotiate terms of independence by March 24, 2016, such as how to divide oil revenues, the currency and removal of nuclear weapons.

His promise is an appeal to opposition Labour voters, many of whom bitterly oppose the SNP, which dominates Scotland's parliament. Salmond can count on concern among Labour voters about a continuing Conservative-led government in Britain.

"A 'Yes' vote in September is not a vote for me, or for an SNP government in 2016 [at the next Scottish election]," Salmond told party faithful in Aberdeen.

"It's a vote for a government in Scotland that the people of Scotland choose, pursuing policies the people of Scotland support."