POLITICS

David Cameron Admits His 'Tory Toff' Image Could Damage Scottish Anti-Independence Fight

08/01/2014 13:24 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 15:53 GMT
ASSOCIATED PRESS
British Prime Minister David Cameron walks from 10 Downing Street in London, to attend Prime Minister's Questions at the Houses of Parliament, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

David Cameron has admitted his English "Tory toff" image would likely hurt rather than help the campaign against Scottish independence were he to get too involved.

The prime minister has repeatedly rebuffed calls from Alex Salmond to engage in a TV debate on the issue, arguing it should instead take place between the first minister and the leader of the Better Together campaign, Alistair Darling.

Glasgow Labour MP Ian Davidson told the Commons on Wednesday during PMQs that it was "genuinely absurd" that Salmond was refusing to debate Darling. And he said Cameron was right to keep his distance.

"Without seeking to give offence to the prime minister, could I tell him the last person Scots who support the no campaign want to have as their representative is a Tory toff from the home counties, even one with a fine haircut," he said.

Laughing, Cameron agreed. "I accept every part of the hon. gentleman's question," he said. "I also humbly accept, while I am sure there are many people in Scotland who would like to hear me talk about this issue, my appeal doesn't stretch to every single part."

Salmond has said Cameron is dodging a debate out of "arrogance" and "fear". He told the BBC on Sunday: "Arrogance because he believes he can pronounce from on high in London, like in his New Year message, against Scottish independence without having the accountability of having a democratic debate.

"And fear, of course, because he thinks him participating in an open debate will expose the reality that what he wants to do is to continue Tory rule in Scotland without the democratic accountability of being elected by the Scottish people."