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Alex Salmond admires 'certain aspects' of Putin

SNP leader Alex Salmond has said he admires "certain aspects" of Vladimir Putin's leadership of Russia and said he had "restored a substantial part of Russian pride.

Alex Salmond said he admired 'certain aspects' of Vladimir Putin's leadership Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire/Press Association Images

In an interview with former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell for GQ magazine, the First Minister said Mr Putin was "more effective" than some perceive him to be.

However, he also tempered his praise by criticising "aspects of Russian constitutionality and the inter-mesh with business and politics" in the country.

Read: Nigel Farage admires 'Putin as a leader'

Salmond: Social union 'will remain' after independence

The social union between Scotland and the rest of the UK "will remain", Alex Salmond is expected to say in a speech given in the north of England later today.

The First Minister will argue people either side of the border can still marry freely and the monarchy will preside over Scotland as it does for "other Commonwealth countries":

People would still live in Annan and work in Carlisle, or live in Penrith and work in Lockerbie. Friends and family would continue to visit each other.

We would still watch many of the same television programmes. People from Scotland and England would still celebrate personal unions - by getting married in Carlisle Cathedral or perhaps by going to Gretna instead.

On Monday, there were gun salutes in Stirling, Edinburgh and London to mark the Queen's birthday. That would continue, since we would still share a monarchy with the rest of the UK...just as 16 other Commonwealth countries do now.

– Alex Salmond

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Alex Salmond appeals to Border Community

Scotland's First Minister will attempt to woo more voters along the border with England, arguing there will be no disruption to trading relationships if voters chose to go it alone.

Read: Salmond: 'Bluff and bluster' over pound is just tactics

Alex Salmond
Alex Salmond will argue Scottish independence will not change existing economic ties with the north of England. Credit: PA

In a speech given in the English city of Carlisle on St George's Day, Alex Salmond will insist Scotland will keep the pound, despite a rousing refusal from all major UK parties to agree to a currency union.

The SNP leader is expected to refute Westminster allegations that Scottish independence will have a "profound change" on cross-border relations.

Instead, Mr Salmond will claim existing social and economic ties on the border will continue as they are.

Read: Independent Scotland faces 'pensioner time bomb'

Salmond: Flat demolition scrapping a 'sensible decision'

The Red Road flats in Glasgow that were due to be demolished as part of the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony.
The Red Road flats in Glasgow that were due to be demolished as part of the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond has welcomed the decision taken by Glasgow 2014 organisers to drop the demolition of the Red Road flats from the Opening Ceremony.

"I think it's a sensible decision that will be widely welcomed and we've already seen indications of that," he said.

Carolyn Leckie praised 'people power' after the flat demolition was dropped.
Carolyn Leckie praised 'people power' after the flat demolition was dropped. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Archive

Former Scottish Socialist MSP Carolyn Leckie said she was 'relieved and extremely pleased' with the move.

"I think it's great, it's a sensible decision. I think everybody will be relieved and I think the over-17,000 people who expressed their views in the petition - making a lot of sensible comments, some of which were also based on safety - will be relieved," she said.

Vote not for SNP but for Scotland's future says Salmond

Alex Salmond is to echo his deputy's call for Labour voters to back Scottish independence, saying a Yes vote is not about the SNP.

At his party's conference in Aberdeen the Scottish First Minister will say "a Yes vote in September is not a vote for me, or for an SNP government in 2016.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon used her own speech yesterday to reach out to Labour supporters, as ITV News' Martin Geissler reports.

Salmond will also say that independence negotiations between Scotland and the rest of the UK could start within days of a Yes vote in the referendum.

He will say that if there is a Yes vote in the referendum "an all-party 'Team Scotland' negotiating group, including non-SNP members, will be convened".

Salmond: 'Bluff and bluster' over pound is just tactics

First Minister Alex Salmond has told Sky News that all the talk not sharing the sterling if Scotland votes Yes for Independence is all "bluff and bluster".

First Minister Alex Salmond says the threat of not sharing Sterling is a campaign tactic. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

He also reiterated that that on the polls, the Yes campaign is gaining ground and that the best people to govern are the people who "live and work in the country".

Responding on the Murnaghan programme on Sky News to an article on the Guardian on an independent Scotland, Salmond said that all this "bluff and bluster about not sharing sterling is a campaign tactic."

Salmond said the 'No' campaign is trying to 'scare the natives' by insisting there will not be a currency union.

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Sharing sterling after independence 'best option'

Sharing sterling after independence is the best option for Scotland, First Minister Alex Salmond has insisted, but added that there is a plan B, C, D, E and F.

Read: Carney: RBS might have to leave independent Scotland

First Minister Alex Salmond insists on sharing sterling after Scottish independence Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

The Scottish Government favours a formal monetary union, in which an independent Scotland would continue to share the pound, but this arrangement has been ruled out by Chancellor George Osborne and the main parties at Westminster.

Speaking on BBC's Andrew Marr show, Mr Salmond said: "We're as entitled to share [sterling] as the people in London and therefore if you claim ownership over that currency like Ed Balls and George Osborne are doing then unfortunately you claim ownership over all the debts of the United Kingdom.

"That's why people in Scotland are seeing through the bluff and the bluster."

Read: Scottish independence 'a threat to safety and security'

Read ITV News Economics Editor Richard Edgar's blog

People value 'the success' of the 300-year-old union

Margaret Curran
Labour MP Margaret Curran said Scottish opinion was "starting to settle" around the future of the welfare state. Credit: Daybreak/ITV

Scotland "gives a lot" to the UK and voters value "the success" of the union, the Shadow Secretary for Scotland has told Daybreak.

"The welfare state, we have built together - I think that benefits a lot of people and I think that really is where opinion is starting to settle in Scotland.

"Big debates still to be had, not complacent in any of that at all. It is a big, big decision.

"But I think it is the fundamental issues of our standards of living. If you can't tell us what kind of currency we are going to have, I think Alex Salmond is asking us to back a very, very bad idea."

Read: Salmond mocks Osborne's 'Sermon on the Pound'

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