Scottish Independence: Labour's Ed Balls Slams SNP's Alex Salmond for Losing Credibility over Irresponsible Debt Threats
Scottish Independence: Labour's Ed Balls Slams SNP's Alex Salmond for Losing Credibility over Irresponsible Debt Threats Reuters

Britain's main opposition party has slammed the Scottish National Party's leader for losing credibility within international politics after Alex Salmond and other SNP members made repeated 'irresponsible' threats to not pay their country's debt in the event that an independent Scotland loses the pound.

In a TV interview, shadow chancellor Ed Balls also added that Salmond was making promises he can't keep.

"Salmond is saying to people that you can have independence and keep the pound and the Bank of England. That is not going to happen," said Balls.

"The idea that Salmond could hope to be credible as an international figure, negotiating with the European Union or the UK government, while he makes threats, which are so irresponsible he would renege on debt. I don't think that's taken seriously because if it was true it would be utterly catastrophic."

Scottish people will vote in an independence referendum in September this year and will be asked the straight "yes/no" question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

The SNP is pushing for a yes vote in the September independence referendum, but has continually told voters that it is likely that the country will retain the pound.

Today, Britain's Chancellor George Osborne launched his strongest attack on Scottish independence after telling voters in a speech that if they quit the UK, they will lose the pound.

"If Scotland walks away from the UK, it walks away from the pound," said Osborne.

"There is no legal reason why the rest of the UK would need to share the currency with an independent Scotland.

"The pound is not an asset to be divided up."

He added that Alex Salmond's, leader of the SNP, threats will also backfire.

"The SNP threat to walk away from the country's share of UK debt would mean punitively high interest rates for Scottish debt issuance," said Osborne.

He added that Alex Salmond's, leader of the SNP, threats will also backfire.

"The SNP threat to walk away from the country's share of UK debt would mean punitively high interest rates for Scottish debt issuance," said Osborne.

On 12 February, several SNP officials slammed Osborne for 'bullying' the country, by repeatedly delivering strong opposition towards a currency union, in the event that Scotland breaks away from Britain.

However, Balls believes that the SNP has to be more realistic about how a currency union works.

"I don't think Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon are being honest with the Scottish people when they say Scotland can keep the pound because they must know it is not true," said Balls.

"The idea that Scotland could keep the pound and the Bank of England and be subsidised and supported by the UK taxpayer having chosen independence is not going to happen.

"It would be wrong for Scotland and wrong for the UK. That's just telling Salmond and Sturgeon what life would be like in that real world."