Ahead of Chancellor George Osborne’s scheduled appearance before the Scottish Affairs Committee at Westminster today (Wednesday), the SNP are demanding that he agrees to publish the publicly-funded polling research they commissioned from Ipsos/MORI on the independence referendum.
This comes as the No campaign falls into more disarray with reports that its leader Alistair Darling has been sidelined just four months from polling day - with Douglas Alexander effectively replacing Mr Darling. This move comes despite growing criticism and alarm within Labour about Douglas Alexander’s role in their struggling 2015 Westminster election campaign, as opinion polls now put the Tories ahead with a year to go to the election.
Stewart Hosie MP, SNP Westminster Treasury spokesperson commented :
"George Osborne must agree to publish this secret poll - which has been paid for by the taxpayer. We know the coalition have spent an eye watering £46,500 of public money on voting intentions in the referendum, and have now locked it up in a vault in Whitehall. Yesterday, the Deputy Prime Minister refused to answer our demand to publish – today it is the Chancellor’s opportunity to come clean. The poll findings may have added to the panic in the No campaign, which is turning into a shambles as Alistair Darling is sidelined because the Tories in charge of the campaign think he is ‘lacklustre’.
“This secret poll was funded by public money and the Chancellor keeps preaching about the need for fiscal responsibility and austerity. Most people in Scotland will want to hear how this public expense can be justified – and why it is being kept secret. Does the research suggest what we all know – that the constant stream of negativity and scaremongering by No is turning the people of Scotland off and boosting the Yes vote - and that sending a succession of increasingly bewildered Tory ministers on day trips north of the Border to tell Scots what we can’t do is backfiring?
“The Chancellor has an opportunity at the Scottish Affairs Committee to give a clear pledge that this secret research will be published in full. It is unacceptable to try to keep it buried because of bad news for the faltering and now rudderless No campaign.”