POLITICS

Alistair Carmichael Says He Will Quit UK Government If Scotland Votes For Independence

28/08/2014 09:33 BST | Updated 28/08/2014 15:59 BST
PA/PA Archive
Secretary of State for Scotland Alistair Carmichael makes a statement about the police helicopter crash in Glasgow at the House of Commons, London.

Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael has indicated he could step down from the UK Government and join Alex Salmond's "Team Scotland" to negotiate a deal on independence if there is a Yes vote in the referendum.

The senior Liberal Democrat politician said it would be "difficult" to remain in his present position if Scots vote Yes on September 18.

It comes after First Minister Alex Salmond said he wanted "all the best talents" in the country to take part in such talks.

In a television debate with Better Together leader Alistair Darling earlier this week, the First Minister stressed: "Whatever the result we are going to have to bring Scotland together.

"So as First Minister I'm pledging that if there's a Yes vote then I will accept the obligation to have that 18 months of negotiation between the referendum and independence not just involving the Scottish National Party or the wider Yes campaign but all of the best talents of Scotland as part of Scotland's negotiating team to get the best possible settlement for Scotland."

Mr Carmichael told the Scotsman if the referendum resulted in a vote for Scotland to leave the UK "it would be difficult to see how you could fit into a cabinet which was at the point on its way to becoming part of a foreign country".

When asked if he would join Scotland's negotiating team for independence talks, he said: "Yes, if I was asked to.

"I mean if Scotland votes for independence then I will still want to be part of the Scottish public political life.

"I would have to be realistic about what could be achieved, but you know I am not walking away from Scottish politics.

"If that is something that happens then yes, I would want to get the best possible deal for Scotland. That's what I do at the moment and that's what I will always do in the future for as long as I hold the job I do."

He told the paper that those negotiating an independence settlement for Scotland in the wake of a Yes vote would face a tough task.

"Unlike Alex Salmond I'm not going to try to pretend the job of that negotiating team will be straightforward or it will achieve the unachievable," Mr Carmichael said.

"If we go down the road of independence there will be an enormously difficult path. I know which side I will be on, but I would much rather not be put in that position."

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