Scottish independence: Alistair Darling tells David Cameron to agree to second referendum

James Nickerson
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Darling said Sturgeon had kept divisions "burning" (Source: Getty)

If Scots want a second independence referendum, they should be given it, Alistair Darling has told David Cameron.

Darling, who led the Better Together campaign last year, said there did not appear to be any desire for a second referendum, but if appetite among voters did grow, it would be “daft to deny them”.

Speaking to The Times, Darling said Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish National Party, had kept division “burning” by talking of a second referendum, and the fallout could “last for generations”.

A lot of what [the SNP] are saying is building on grievances and grudges and so on. It’s almost in their interests to keep it going.

It’s not something where you can just rub the slate clean.

The former chancellor’s comments come two days after Sturgeon said the SNP’s manifesto for next year’s Scottish Parliament election will include possible timescales and triggers for a second vote.

Read more: Nicola Sturgeon - Second Scottish independence referendum "triggers" will be in 2016 SNP manifesto

However, opponents have criticised her for reneging on her pledge to honour the “once-in-a-generation” vote.

Scotland’s only Conservative MP, David Mundell, who is the Scottish secretary, said yesterday that a second vote would be at least 15 years in the future.

Yet, in a separate interview with the Telegraph Darling claimed that Sturgeon did not want a referendum any time soon as she knows she would lose.

The First Minister of Scotland is only raising the possibility of a second referendum now to appease SNP members and “let them down lightly”, he added. “There’s no high principle here. It’s base political calculation.”

Read more: Scottish referendum revisited: Is an independent Scotland becoming inevitable?

A recent poll by YouGov has said the Yes campaign would lose again, but by a smaller margin of 48 per cent against 52 per cent, contrasting a poll by TNS that put the pro-independence side ahead.

A poll by Survation also put the anti-independence side ahead on 52 per cent against 48 per cent.

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