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UK Politics

Scottish independence: No campaign is being outfought by Nationalists, minister Alistair Carmichael admits


The Scottish Secretary, Alistair Carmichael, delivered a stark warning to opponents of Scottish independence against complacency as he admitted the Better Together campaign was being outfought by the Nationalists.

He was speaking after a rocky weekend for the No camp in which it was forced to deny the remaining UK would let Scotland share the pound in the event of a vote for separation.

Mr Carmichael said surveys were still pointing to most Scots opposing to separation, but this was creating the impression that independence could not happen.

He said: “I’ve got to tell everybody it could, not least because the nationalists have an enormous advantage in terms of the amount of money they have at their disposal in order to buy momentum.”

He told the BBC: “They have got an unprecedented war chest to pour into this campaign. We’ve got to realise what is coming and as a consequence, we’ve got to get our arguments in place and our arguments as sharp as theirs.”

The Treasury was forced to intervene and insist there would be no currency union after comments by an unnamed minister were published in the Guardian.

Alistair Darling, who heads Better Together, and shadow chancellor Ed Balls stressed a shared pound “wouldn’t happen, no matter what anonymous quotes people read”.

Alex Salmond, the First Minister, said the article had proved the No campaign’s stance on sterling was “a campaign tactic, a negotiating position, something to scare the natives up in Scotland”.

He said: “They have based their arguments on whatever they can say or do in this campaign to try and intimidate the people of Scotland out of voting for independence and their bluff is being called.

“George Osborne and Ed Balls joining hands and reiterating the scaremongering doesn’t deny the story. It seems to me the story is a very important demolition of the No campaign.”