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Jack McConnell attacks Edinburgh Agreement

FORMER First Minister Lord McConnell will today brand the Edinburgh Agreement a "bad deal" for Scotland.

The Labour peer's attack comes after MPs agreed to transfer the power to hold the 2014 independence poll from Westminster to Holyrood with a so-called Section 30 Order but with a warning to Alex Salmond and his colleagues not to seek partisan advantage on key issues of the referendum question and campaign finance.

Lord McConnell will echo the point, accusing the Coalition Government of agreeing to "soft" conditions on the conduct of the independence referendum.

And he will say he is "angry" at the agreement.

He told The Herald: "I do not think Parliament should reject a deal done by the PM with the FM. But I am angry the deal was bad for Scotland. A delay until 2014 will cost jobs.

"The rules must be fair to both sides. The deal was soft on those issues and both governments should stop playing games and put Scotland first."

Lord McConnell's intervention suggests today's debate about the Section 30 Order in the House of Lords will be more fiery than that in the Commons yesterday when pro-UK politician after pro-UK politician called on the First Minister to accept the recommendations of the Electoral Commission on the wording of the referendum question and the limits on campaign spending.

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