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Scottish Independence: Salmond Offers To Hold Talks With Westminster

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Alex Salmond has offered to hold talks with David Cameron and Nick Clegg, after a week of animosity between Westminster and Holyrood.

Salmond said he was willing to meet the prime minister “in Edinburgh, in London or wherever”.

The SNP leader made the approach in Dublin where he is attending a summit of the British-Irish council with Nick Clegg.

Clegg's spokesperson welcomed the move, telling the press association: "If this means that Alex Salmond is saying he is going to engage constructively and join the conversation, then we welcome that."

However the spokesperson added that Scottish Secretary Michael Moore had already invited Salmond to talks with the government.

On Friday morning Salmond struck a less conciliatory tone, comparing Scotland with Ireland and hitting out at "Westminster politicians":

"I am sure many people in Ireland will remember that sometimes people who are in leadership positions in big countries find it very difficult not to bully small countries. What we have seen over the last week is a most extraordinary attempt to bully and intimidate Scotland by Westminster politicians," he told Irish broadcaster RTE.

Salmond added that Clegg, Cameron and Osborne would no longer be "dictating terms to Scotland."

It comes the day after George Osborne suggested an independent Scotland would not be able to keep the pound as its currency, as he spoke of "taking the fight" to the SNP.

Relations between Westminster and Scotland have reached the level where Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness joked that he could facilitate peace talks between the British and Scottish leaders.

He said: "(First Minister) Peter Robinson and I have a castle in Belfast and I'm sure we will be prepared to make it available for peace discussions between the British Government and Scotland."

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