Published July 08, 2013
LONDON (AFP) – Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond has scoffed at suggestions he sought to gain political profit from Andy Murray's Wimbledon win by brandishing a Scottish Saltire flag directly behind David Cameron's head as the two leaders sat in the Royal Box on Centre Court.
The SNP leader, who is campaigning for a "Yes" vote in an independence for Scotland referendum next year, appeared to deliberately raise the blue and white national flag behind the British prime minister's head as they celebrated Murray's win so it would be in the television shot.
Supporters of Scotland staying in the United Kingdom accused him of "photobombing" Cameron and breaking All England Club rules - which state that large banners and flags cannot be used around the courts.
But Salmond told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that he had "no idea" what the seating plans were, and the Wimbledon authorities had not minded his actions "in the slightest".
"I think it (is) a rule more observed in the breaking than the observation," he added.
Stressing that the incident happened after the match, in which Murray defeated Novak Djokovic 6-4, 7-5, 6-4, had finished, Salmond pointed out that, while Britain had waited 77 years, no Scot had won the tournament since Harold Mahoney in 1896.
"It is not something that happens very often so I think a few Saltires hoisted over Wimbledon does not do any harm at all," he said. "I had no idea what the seating arrangements were - that is absolutely the case."
He said the flag had been in his wife Moira's handbag.
Asked whether Murray's achievement had been a triumph for Britain, he replied: "Absolutely, and for tennis fans everywhere. Let everyone enjoy the triumph. But you will allow us just the little sneaky thing of the first Scot since 1896. Let us wave our Saltires."