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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 January 2008, 16:04 GMT
Salmond: Labour's 'systemic failure'
Alex Salmond
This is really now in my view a test for the Electoral Commission
Alex Salmond

The First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, today added to the pressure on Peter Hain to resign over improper donations to his Deputy Leadership campaign.

He said that it was "time for the Electoral Commission to enforce the rules".

He went on to say to Jon Sopel: "I think the problems for the Labour Party is this, it does look like there's a systemic failure in the Labour Party, to observe the law and observe indeed the laws that they introduce.

"And whether it's the UK Labour Party, or whether it's the case in Scotland or whether it's Peter Hain, that at least a prima facie case that various think tanks or institutions or arrangements were made or companies were invented to try and circumvent the law.

"This is really now in my view a test for the Electoral Commission.

"If this is systemic as it looks," he continued, "then they cannot, in terms of the credibility of the Electoral Commission, continue to allow the Labour Party to get away with this sort of thing."

Nuclear rejection

He also made the case for Scotland to reject the building of new nuclear stations on its territory.

With substantial increases in alternative renewable generation in Scotland, Mr Salmond insists that the real issue is not whether Scotland can meet their own electricity requirements, it is more about how the country can mobilise their total energy potential.

He went on to say that Scotland could substantially increase production in the medium term, "producing twice, perhaps even three times the electricity requirements from non-nuclear, renewable and low carbon sources".

He said: "We actually have a comparative advantage, an economic advantage and every one of these sources of energy, whether it be wave power, tidal power, off shore wind power, wind power, carbon capture, clean coal, all of these things.

"So why on earth should be invest again in the one expensive technology that we don't have an economic or competitive advantage in: it would be a daft thing to do in Scotland."

Wendy Alexander
I think it's important that politicians take responsibility and I've sought to do so
Wendy Alexander

Labour Leader defence

Speaking on the same programme, Labour's leader in the Scottish Parliament, Wendy Alexander, defended her own position - she is herself being investigated by the Electoral Commission over an alleged illegal donation.

She said: "I've said that my campaign team accepted 950, that turned out to be impermissible.

"The moment I was aware of that, we referred it to the Electoral Commission and I'm confident that I will be exonerated of any wrong-doing.

"I want the Electoral Commission to be allowed to get on with their job and I'm getting on with mine, giving Scotland I think the constitutional alternative it's looking for."

She added that she was confident of being exonerated: "I've said a mistake was made. We've provided all the evidence to the Electoral Commission, and I'm confident that I will be exonerated of any wrong-doing.

"All political parties have had difficulties, and all political parties agreed that the Electoral Commission is the right body to look at this, they should do so, free from political or other pressure and I'm confident that as I say, I will be exonerated of any wrong doing.

And on resignation...

When asked about when a public figure should resign, there was the following exchange:

Jon Sopel: "When does a public figure resign?"

Wendy Alexander: "I think you're drawing me into hypotheticals, which I'm really not going to be drawn into."

Jon Sopel: "No, it's not a hypothetical question - a question you must have considered."

Wendy Alexander: "I think it's important that politicians take responsibility and I've sought to do so."

The Politics Show, with Jon Sopel on Sunday 13 January 2008 at 12:00 GMT on BBC One.

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