Scottish independence vote on a knife edge

2014-09-12 13:00
Supporters of the pro-union 'Better Together' campaign hold 'No' signs as they listen to Scottish MP Jim Murphy address crowds in Edinburgh. (Andy Buchanan, AFP)

Supporters of the pro-union 'Better Together' campaign hold 'No' signs as they listen to Scottish MP Jim Murphy address crowds in Edinburgh. (Andy Buchanan, AFP)

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London - An opinion poll published on Friday showed next week's referendum on Scottish independence on a knife edge, with 52% of people against ending the nation's 300-year-old union with the rest of the United Kingdom and 48% in favour.

However, the poll of 1 300 people, conducted by YouGov for the Times and Sun newspapers did appear to show that the pro-independence campaign's momentum has slowed.

The company's previous poll, published Sunday, had put the independence camp ahead for the first time, with 51 per cent of respondents in favour and 49% supporting the union.

YouGov President Peter Kellner said the newest poll marked the first time the pro-union campaign gained ground since early August, attributing the change to campaigning by former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown, whose warnings that independence would be bad for jobs and family finances had "struck home".

The poll also comes in the wake of confirmation by several banks, including Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds, that they would move their headquarters to London in the event of independence. Several large retailers warned that Scottish shoppers would face higher prices.

Meanwhile, Nigel Farage, the leader of the anti-European Union UK Independence Party (UKIP), was also set to hit the campaign trail in Glasgow in support of the union.

He told BBC radio that Scottish independence would be "nothing of the kind" if it still belonged to the EU. "[Scottish First Minister Alex] Salmond wants Scotland to be part of the EU state. He wants his laws made in Brussels", he said.

The official Better Together campaign had urged Farage not to go to Scotland, fearing the controversial politician may alienate pro-union voters.

When the UKIP leader visited Edinburgh last year he had to escape an angry anti-racism protest by seeking refuge in a pub. He was later escorted away in a police van.

Almost 4.3 million people have registered to vote in Thursday's referendum. They will be asked the question, "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

Read more on:    eu  |  alex salmond  |  gordon brown  |  scotland

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