Scottish Tories dismiss `one-sided' debate 2/24point bold of spacey

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The Independent Online
The Conservatives, who did not take part in last night's debate, said the exchange between George Robertson and Alex Salmond was "one- sided" andfailed to address the main issue of preserving the union between Scotland and England which had "served the UK well for 300 years".

Ian Lang, Secretary of State for Scotland, said that both Labour and SNP policies would lead to the break-up of Britain. He said setting up an assembly in Edinburgh would create administrative and constitutional tensions with Westminster which would "lead inexorably and inevitably down a slippery slope towards full independence."

Mr Lang was speaking after an opinion poll revealed that almost 50 per cent of Scots think that devolution would eventually lead to independence. Mr Lang said Scots Tories were prepared "to face the democratic consequences" of opposing constitutional change.

The Liberal Democrats, who were also not invited to take part in the debate, said it had "generated more heat than light" and called for referendum.

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