Cameron: losing Scotland would rip rug from under us

Published on Friday, 07 February 2014 09:57
Written by Daniel Mason

Scotland becoming independent would "rip the rug" from under the United Kingdom's reputation, David Cameron will say today.

In a speech addressed "not to the people of Scotland, but to the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland", the prime minister is to warn that the UK "would be deeply diminished without Scotland".

"This matters to all our futures. And everyone in the UK can have a voice in this debate," Cameron, speaking at the Olympic Park in London, will say.

Ahead of Scotland's independence referendum on September 18, he will add: "It is their choice, their vote. But my argument today is that though only four million people can vote in this referendum, all 63 million of us are profoundly affected.

"There are 63 million of us who could wake up on September 19 in a different country, with a different future". He will say the UK is a "powerful brand" and losing Scotland would "rip the rug from under our own reputation".

In a plea to the rest of the UK, Cameron is to say: "Those voting are our friends, neighbours and family. You do have an influence. Let the message ring out from Manchester to Motherwell, from Pembrokeshire to Perth, from Belfast to Bute, from us to the people of Scotland – let the message be this. We want you to stay."

But the Scottish National party criticised Cameron for making the speech in England.

"This is a cowardly speech from a prime minister who uses the Olympic Park in London to give high-handed lectures against Scotland's independence but hasn't got the guts to come to Scotland or anywhere else to make his case in a head-to-head debate," deputy first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said

Cameron has refused to take part in a televised one-on-one debate with SNP leader and first minister Alex Salmond, insisting the argument should be had between the leaders of the 'yes' and 'no' campaigns.

A poll last month found that the pro-independence camp had closed the gap on those in favour of maintaining the union. The ICM survey for Scotland on Sunday put support for independence on 37 per cent, compared with 44 per cent for those against.

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