Alex Salmond: 'Prospect of staying under London rule is dismal'

Alex Salmond has called the independence referendum deal “the opportunity to build a better economic and social future” by making Scotland an independent country.

The First Minister outlined his vision in an interview with Scotland Tonight’s Rona Dougall on Monday.

He said: “I think what's happened is that the two governments have arrived at a position which is centred on the idea of Scotland determining our own future as a nation.

“What we have now though is an agreement, a respectful agreement, whereby we have agreed on a process and to respect the outcome, and the people of Scotland will now have the opportunity to build a better economic and social future by Scotland becoming an independent country.”

He added: “Independence will give us the opportunity to build a more prosperous and just society in Scotland.

“The prospect of staying under London rule I think is going to be a dismal one for Scotland, and that's why we intend to fight an uplifting campaign, spelling out the benefits for the economy and the benefits in terms of social justice of Scotland becoming an independent country.”

His comments came at the end of an eventful day for the SNP leader, who earlier had agreed to a pact with Prime Minister David Cameron to allow the Scottish Parliament to hold a public vote on breaking up the political union between Scotland and England.

Mr Salmond rejected comments from former Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Forsyth that David Cameron had conceded too much ground to the SNP.

He said: “Michael Forsyth through his political career was never keen on Scotland deciding on anything, because if Scotland had decided on anything Michael Forsyth would never have been Secretary of State for Scotland, so Michael Forsyth has always been hostile to the idea of Scottish self-government.”

But the First Minister batted away questions about the timing of the referendum, insisting the two-year campaign was necessary to have a full debate on all the issues.

He told Scotland Tonight: “The parliamentary processes will take place next year, the publication of a White Paper spelling out the detail of an independent Scotland, and then in 2014 we will have the opportunity to debate and to decide.”

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