Lord Forsyth: Alex Salmond ‘deciding rules of game’ on referendum

A former Secretary of State for Scotland has claimed Alex Salmond is “deciding the rules of the game” on the independence referendum.

Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, who served as a Scotland Office minister in Margaret Thatcher’s government and as the Secretary of State under John Major, made the comments during an interview with Scotland Tonight’s Rona Dougall.

Lord Forsyth told the programme: "Under the deal it's Alex Salmond who gets to decide the deal. Not the Electoral Commission or anybody else. Usually, you have a referee to decide the rules of the game; you don't have one of the participants. Alex Salmond also gets to decide the franchise, he gets to decide what the rules are for expenditure.

“The Westminster parliament is being asked to pass the Section 30 order without seeing the draft legislation which he proposes to put before the Scottish Parliament -- and I'd be very surprised if Westminster agrees to do that."

His latest remarks come after he harshly criticised the Prime Minister in a weekend newspaper interview. Lord Forsyth compared David Cameron to Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect of biblical Judea, Samaria, and Idumea who ordered the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

He told the Sunday Times: "Salmond has been able to get what he wants. If that's called a negotiation, that's stretching the language. It sounds like a walkover to me. What is going on here is the prime minister is Pontius Pilate. He is just saying, over to you, Alex.

“Once that order is passed it's a matter for Alex Salmond, so he is going to dictate the terms."

During his appearance on Scotland Tonight, Lord Forsyth also challenged the widespread perception that Alex Salmond had made concessions to secure the agreement. He pointed to the Prime Minister's pledge to consider more powers for the Scottish Parliament if the electorate votes no, which he said gives the SNP an automatic 'Yes' on further devolution.

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