Tories Said Concerned Darling May Lose Scots Referendum Campaign

David Cameron’s Conservatives are criticizing former Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling’s running of the campaign against Scottish independence and fear the vote may yet be lost, according to a senior Tory party figure.

Tories are concerned that the campaign to persuade Scots to stay in Britain in next September’s vote has so far been lackluster, said the person, who asked not to be named because he was discussing internal party views.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond last week published his government’s blueprint for ending the more than 300-year-old United Kingdom as he bids to overturn polls that now indicate just a quarter of voters may back independence.

“Unfortunately for the ‘no’ campaign, it’s not obvious who is more charismatic and voter-friendly -- and crucially Scottish -- than Alistair Darling who would be willing to lead,” John Curtice, professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, said in a telephone interview.

The Tories, who hold only one House of Commons seat from Scotland out of 59, have largely stayed away from the anti-independence campaign. It has been run by the non-party affiliated Better Together group, with Darling at its helm.

A spokesman for Better Together declined to comment on the Tories’ concerns when contacted by phone.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kitty Donaldson in London at kdonaldson1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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