01/02/2015 11:14 GMT | Updated 01/02/2015 11:59 GMT

Alex Salmond Says Andy Murray's Australian Open Final 'Just Like The Referendum'

It was inevitable Andy Murray's Australian Open final clash would be compared to the quest for Scottish independence but we didn't expect it to start this early.

After Murray lost his first set to Novak Djokovic, former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond joked on Sky News: "It's just like the referendum."

His comments refer to the growing momentum of the SNP and independence supporters, despite the country rejecting independence in the referendum in September.

This has led to speculation the SNP will seek to secure another referendum, possibly as a concession in exchange for entering a coalition after May's general election.

Salmond, who stood down as SNP leader after the referendum but is standing to be a Westminster MP, said a formal coalition would be "unlikely".


Asked how the SNP would exploit a hung parliament, he said: "Our job would be to progress Scottish interests and that, in particular, means to enforce the delivery of the vow, the promise that was made to Scotland of home rule, neo-federalism, devo to the max, in these last desperate days of the referendum campaign where these three Westminster leaders were in a state of panic.

"These promises will have to be redeemed."

He added: "Instead of another bout of austerity from Labour or Conservative the cancellation of the renewal of the Trident missile system and diverting that funding, £30 billion over the next ten years, into health and education and something useful and productive and I think that will have a lot of support in England as well as in Scotland."

Salmond claimed Ed Miliband was "even more unpopular than David Cameron" in Scotland.

Asked about a Conservative campaign poster that has his head photoshopped on to the body of shadow chancellor Ed Balls, he said: "I was pretty annoyed about the photoshopping on Ed Balls' body. That was certainly below the belt."