With a hat tip to Graham:

SOURCES CLOSE to Alex Salmond last night accused Lord Mandelson of trying to “stack the deck” against those challenging the merger of HBOS with Lloyds TSB after they were threatened with huge legal bills unless they dropped their case.

Lawyers acting for Mandelson, the business and enterprise secretary, told the Merger Action Group (MAG) that unless it halted its legal fight, Mandelson would “pursue costs against each of the group’s identified members”.

However if the six-member group, which challenges the merger proposals at the Competition Appeal Tribunal in London tomorrow, were to drop its case, Mandelson would “wholly exceptionally waive his claim for costs”.

[Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott] said last night: “The tribunal is meant to be a way for small business to challenge big government. It is wrong for the Labour government to be so heavy handed.”

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