Scottish Labour turns on ‘beastie’ Salmond

By politics.co.uk staff

The man who hopes to succeed Alex Salmond as Scotland’s first minister has launched a sustained attack on the Scottish National party leader.

Addressing delegates at Scottish Labour’s final autumn conference before next May’s Holyrood elections to the Scottish parliament, Iain Gray said Mr Salmond’s actions were those of a “wee sleekit cooering timorous beastie”.

The SNP’s minority government faces a real challenge from Labour next year, as both parties confront the austerity being imposed by funding cuts from London.

Mr Gray acknowledged in his leader’s speech that the SNP would “not give up power in Holyrood in easily”, bracing his party for strong SNP spending in the run-up to the election campaign.

“Scotland sees right through you Alex Salmond,” he said.

“You are the banker who got it wrong on the banks. You are the economist who got it wrong on the economy. You are the first minister who gets it wrong for Scotland.

“At a time like this we can’t afford a first minister for funny hats and launching shortbread tins and celebrating world porridge day.”

Mr Gray has been called the “invisible man” by Mr Salmond but he sought to present himself as a credible successor, telling delegates he was “ready to serve”.

The SNP’s Westminster leader Angus Robertson said Mr Gray had failed to specify how Scottish Labour would pay for the range of pledges announced in the speech.

“Iain Gray has promised Scotland a ‘basket of taxes’ so he needs to come clean and tell people what these taxes are,” Mr Robertson commented.

“By totally failing to mention taxation in this speech Iain Gray only increases the questions about what hidden taxes Labour has planned for the people of Scotland.”