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Last Updated: Monday, 13 November 2006, 15:27 GMT
SNP rejects Al Fayed cash offer
Mohamed Al Fayed
Mohamed Al Fayed said he admires SNP leader Alex Salmond
The Scottish National Party has declined an offer of financial support from businessman Mohamed Al Fayed.

The Harrods boss, who owns a 60,000-acre estate in Easter Ross, said the SNP's leader Alex Salmond has "courage" and "commitment".

Speaking during a visit to the Highlands, Mr Al Fayed said: "If they approach me I am ready to help. Definitely."

The SNP told BBC Scotland it would not be accepting his offer.

The businessman owns Balnagown Estates and the Falls of Shin visitor centre in Sutherland.

There has been no approach in either direction and I am sure it's the way it will stay
Nicola Sturgeon, SNP parliamentary leader in Scotland

Mr Al Fayed made his offer during a visit to Falls of Shin and criticised Scottish MPs in Westminster.

He said: "A lot of Scots are just happy to enjoy the pleasures and they forget really where they come from.

"Without the Scottish oil they cannot run the south and they don't appreciate that."

Mr Al Fayed added: "Alex Salmond, he has a lot of personality, a lot of courage, a lot of commitment and patriotism which I admire."

'No approach'

Asked if he would support the SNP, he said: "Of course. If they approach me I am ready to help. Definitely.

"Because this is what I believe - you have to have your freedom. You have to have your independence."

Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP's Holyrood parliamentary leader, said she did not expect Mr Al Fayed to contact the party.

She said: "It is all very hypothetical. There has been no approach in either direction and I am sure it's the way it will stay.

"But, you know, support for independence is growing. It's at record levels here in Scotland and that all augurs well for the election next year."


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SEE ALSO
Al Fayed's North Sea hotel boost
28 Feb 06 |  Scotland
Fayed wins block on BBC tax probe
08 Jan 04 |  Business

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