Minister pulls rug from under No campaign, Salmond says

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The campaign against independence has suffered a “demolition” blow following a UK Minister’s suggestion the pound would be shared in the event of a Yes vote, Scotland’s First Minister said.

The Treasury was forced to intervene and insist there would be no currency union after comments by an anonymous Minister were published in a national newspaper.

Alex Salmond said the article had shown that the No campaign’s stance on sterling “is a campaign tactic, a negotiating position, something to scare the natives up in Scotland”.

The comments also prompted Alistair Darling, who heads the Better Together group, and shadow chancellor Ed Balls to stress a shared pound “wouldn’t happen, no matter what anonymous quotes people read”.

Mr Salmond told Sky News’s Murnaghan programme: “You would not have had the panicky reaction of the last 48 hours... if the No campaign didn’t realise that their scaremongering has been holed below the water line.

“It has been a very difficult 48 hours for the No campaign and it’s going to get a lot worse because they are not basing their arguments on a positive vision of the future.

“They have based their arguments on whatever they can say or do in this campaign to try and intimidate the people of Scotland out of voting for independence and their bluff is being called.

“George Osborne and Ed Balls joining hands and reiterating the scaremongering doesn’t deny the story. It seems to me that the story is a very important demolition of the No campaign.”

Mr Salmond’s comments came as Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael, a key figure in the pro-union campaign, said it needed to do more and match the nationalists’ “hunger” for victory. The Liberal Democrat MP warned Scotland could end up voting for independence because those in favour of remaining part of the UK could leave it too late to make their voices heard.

He said: “I am not expecting to lose, but it is eminently possible that they will be able to buy momentum with the advertising and campaign resource they have.”