LONDON, Feb 17 (Reuters) - British politicians risk provoking a backlash in Scotland by saying that Scots will not be able to keep the pound if they vote for independence, Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond will say in a speech on Monday.
Salmond is fighting a closely choreographed attempt by London to scupper Scotland’s Sept. 18 vote for independence by undermining his central economic case that Scotland could be a prosperous, independent nation.
“The reality is the pound is as much Scotland’s as the rest of the UK,” Salmond said in comments supplied by his office.
“By suggesting otherwise, the Westminster establishment - Tories, Labour and Lib Dems - are reaping a backlash from the ordinary people of Scotland, who feel this is an attempt to bully Scotland ahead of the democratic choice we all look forward to this September.”
The twin pillars of Salmond’s bid for independence - keeping the pound and European Union membership - have been shaken in recent days.
Finance minister George Osborne has warned Scotland could not keep the pound if Scots vote for independence while European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso cautioned Scotland on Sunday that it would struggle to gain European Union membership.