Liberal Democrat party President Tim Farron MP has called out the nationalist campaign on their most scurrilous moment yet over false claims about NHS privatisation if Scotland votes to remain in the UK.
Speaking on a visit to the Borders today with Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, Tim Farron said that only Alex Salmond can open the door to privatisation of the NHS in Scotland.
Tim Farron MP said:
"I've watched the debate over Scotland's future over the past few years and often been inspired by the passionate way it has reenergised political movements like our own grassroots here in the Borders. Sadly it seems that the debate has too often been overshadowed by the nationalists refusal to provide honest answers to basic questions.
"Alex Salmond's claim that MPs in England are hellbent on destroying the NHS in Scotland is the Yes campaign's most scurrilous claim yet. Even if I wanted to, which of course I don't, I couldn't as the NHS in Scotland is run by Holyrood rather than Westminster. And across the UK our NHS has seen an increase in funding every year since it's creation. It has doubled as a share of national income in 50 years. It has grown in the last four years too despite the nationalists' claims. Those are the facts which stand true because the NHS matters to everyone in the UK.
"I will always argue in parliament for the NHS because I too value our health service continuing to hold its own as the best in the world. The NHS was recently judged the best in the world by the Commonwealth Fund. It is one of Britain's finest achievements and I resent the nationalists' desperate attempt to use it to break up Britain.
"The reality is that only Alex Salmond can open the door to privatisation of Scotland's devolved NHS. I don't have a vote in this referendum, that is a decision for people in Scotland alone to take. But I cannot sit quietly by whilst Alex Salmond sullies the NHS for the sake of his independence campaign."
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP said:
"It's independence that poses the biggest threat to the NHS in Scotland. We know that Alex Salmond's independence plans would open a £6 billion black hole in Scotland's finances which would need to be plugged by public sector cuts. This is because the independent IFS have shown that public services would require a 17 percent cut in order to manage rising public sector debt.
"That is a £6bn gamble we simply don't need to take with the broad shoulders of the UK. People are casting their votes now and Alex Salmond has not told them what he will do. This matters for the future of our schools, hospitals and local services. Alex Salmond must now apologise for his shameful claims and set out his answers to these basic questions."