Osborne insists he is not bluffing over currency union with Scotland
Chancellor invokes his oath to tell truth before MPs’ committee as he insists his rejection of deal is not campaigning tactic.
George Osborne invoked his oath to tell the truth before a committee of MPs as he attempted to dismiss allegations that his decision to veto a currency union with an independent Scotland was a short-term campaigning tactic.
The chancellor told MPs on the Commons Scottish affairs select committee that he was not bluffing when he said a formal deal to share sterling after a yes vote would be economically and politically disastrous for both the UK and Scotland.
Resisting warnings from Labour MPs on the committee that Scottish voters believed they were being bullied by an “English Tory”, Osborne said he had an obligation to set out to voters across the UK the risks of forging a currency union with a smaller, more vulnerable country.
Scotland was heavily reliant on volatile oil taxes and had a very large banking sector, he said, yet it was expecting UK taxpayers to bail it out if there was a financial or economic crisis, after quitting the UK.
“It’s like divorcees who are sharing a bank account and a credit card after they divorce,” he said.
He denied charges by Alex Salmond, the first minister of Scotland, that he was blustering and bluffing; those charges increased sharply after theGuardian quoted one senior UK minister stating that Osborne’s veto was a campaigning tactic, and that the UK would negotiate to share sterling after a yes vote.