It may be time for the Queen to step in and make a definitive statement in favour of a No vote in the Scottish referendum as the "very future of the United Kingdom is under threat", according to Ukip leader Nigel Farage.
Mr Farage said the Queen should make a public statement in support of maintaining the union if the independence battle remains on a knife edge in the days leading up to the September 18 referendum.
Buckingham Palace has stressed that the Queen takes the view that the decision should be left to Scottish voters and that her role was “above politics”.
But Mr Farage claimed that if the United Kingdom was under threat she had a responsibility to speak out.
He said if the opinion polls were finely balanced on Sunday then she should make a statement, highlighting her 1977 Silver Jubilee declaration of support for the union as a precedent for the monarch intervening in constitutional debates.
The Ukip leader told LBC Radio: “My understanding of the constitution is if the kingdom itself, if the United Kingdom itself is under threat, then in many ways you could argue she has a responsibility to say something.
“I can completely understand her wanting to keep out of politics and she has done it absolutely brilliantly over 60 years., she is a globally admired figure.
Video: What Scottish independence will actually mean
“I doubt the royal family has ever been more popular over centuries than it currently is.
“But there are times when, if the United Kingdom, over which she is the monarch, is threatened itself, when it might be right to say something.
“That doesn't mean that she has to, but ... let's say we got to this Sunday and let's say it was still 50-50 in the polls, I personally think she should say something, yes.”
He added: “If the very future of the United Kingdom itself is threatened she should say something and there is a precedent for this: she did it in 1977, she did it in Westminster Hall when she spoke, her Silver Jubilee speech, when the first modern calls for separation were being heard, and she said very clearly that I am the Queen of the entire United Kingdom.
“So she's said it before and it might be handy if she said it again.”
Mr Farage called for a “new constitutional settlement” for the whole United Kingdom following the referendum on Scottish independence.
Mr Farage, who is visiting Glasgow to campaign for a No vote, called for a federal UK with powers devolved to the different parts of the country, and said Scottish MPs should be stripped of the power to vote on English matters at Westminster if “devo-max” goes ahead.
Scottish Independence: For and against
Scottish Independence: For and against
1/23 Vivienne Westwood
YES: “I hate England. I like Scotland because somehow I think they are better than we are. They are more democratic.”
2/23 Bob Geldof
NO: "This argument needs to be had among us all, you can't selfishly resolve it amongst yourselves by taking an easy opt-out clause."
3/23 Leonard Cohen
UNDECIDED: “People are trying to make their lives significant,” he said. “[They] are engaged in a struggle for self-respect and significance.”
4/23 James McAvoy
UNDECIDED: “If you vote for continued unification or independence there is no protest vote – that’s it. And that could be it for decades, for centuries. There’s no going back from it."
5/23 Bill Clinton
NO: “Unity with maximum self-determination sends a powerful message to a world torn by identity conflicts that it is possible to respect our differences while living and working together. This is the great challenge of our time. The Scots can show us how to meet it.”
6/23 George Galloway
NO: “There will be havoc if you vote Yes in September. Havoc in Edinburgh and throughout the land and you will break the hearts of many others too… I know which side I’m on. I’m with JK Rowling. Just say No.”
7/23 David Beckham
NO: “We want to let you know how very much we value our relationship and friendship. Of course regardless of your decision that will never change, however, my sincere hope is that you will vote to renew our historic bond which has been such a success over the centuries and the envy of the entire world. What unites us is much greater than what divides us. Let's stay together.”
8/23 David Bowie
NO: "Scotland stay with us"
9/23 Eddie Izzard
NO: "You can be Scottish, you can be British and you can be European. We can have that. “I say have the parliament, have the more power, but be with us. Like David Bowie said, ‘Stay with us Scotland’ and I’m saying the same – don’t go."
10/23 Frankie Boyle
YES: "It’s an ‘aye’ (for Independence) from me, man."
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11/23 Andy Murray
NO: "I started competing for Great Britain when I was 11. A lot of people forget that. I didn't like it when Salmond got the Scottish flag up at Wimbledon"
12/23 The Proclaimers
YES: 'Scotland has huge national resources, with its people, its wave power – all the possibilities that this country has...we need to take charge of our own affairs'
13/23 Susan Boyle
NO: "I am a proud, patriotic Scot, passionate about my heritage and my country. But I am not a nationalist."
14/23 Chris Hoy
NO: "It will weaken the British team obviously if Scotland went separately, and it would be harder for the Scottish athletes, initially, to establish themselves in a new training environment, with new coaches, with a different environment altogether."
15/23 Alan Cumming
YES: "The evidence is clear - in the past 15 years we have become stronger economically, socially, culturally and globally. The world is waiting for us and I know Scotland is ready."
16/23 Emma Thompson
NO: "Why insist on building a new border between human beings in an ever-shrinking world where we are still struggling to live alongside each other?"
Carlo Allegri, Reuters
17/23 Billy Bragg
YES: Independence would "create a new settlement that puts people before profit. Those in England who believe that our own society needs to be rebalanced along similar lines should wake up and join the debate"
18/23 Marcus Brigstocke
NO: "If Scotland go their own way (based on fingers crossed, f**k the Tories, William Wallace bollocks it'll be a damn shame. Still wish 'em well"
19/23 Rod Stewart
NO: "I'd hate to see the union broken after all these years. It's always been a spiritual home - but as I don't live there I shouldn't comment on independence. If it's good for the Scots I'm happy."
20/23 Sean Connery
YES: "As a Scot and as someone with a lifelong love for both Scotland and the arts, I believe the opportunity of independence is too good to miss"
21/23 Al Kennedy
NO: "Salmond has the warm potato head of a man who is Scottish and – we hope – no threat"
22/23 Annie Lennox
YES: "There is an opportunity for something innovative and visionary. Scotland could have some kind of new, ethical, visionary stance and it could take on some fresh ideas. That could be amazing, really amazing."
YES: "They must cut ties with the United King-dumb. I love Scotland, and I love the Scottish spirit and they do not need Westminster in the least."
The eurosceptic party leader accused Alex Salmond of offering voters in Scotland “a false prospectus” in the referendum campaign, insisting that a Yes vote will not deliver independence so long as the country remains in the European Union.
No campaigners have urged the Ukip leader - whose last trip north of the border ended with him barricaded inside a pub to escape protesters - to stay away for fear he will alienate traditional Labour supporters.
But he insisted he intends to press ahead with an address to supporters in Glasgow, and said he had “absolutely no intention of being incendiary at all”.
Mr Farage told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: “The truth is that Mr Salmond's plan is not for independence. This whole referendum is in danger of going by default.
“Mr Salmond wants Scotland to be part of the EU state. He wants his laws made in Brussels. He's got no chance of renegotiating Scottish fisheries.
“I'm fearful that people have switched to the Yes side, believing this is a noble, bold plan of Mr Salmond's to be a self-governing independent nation, when it's nothing of the kind.”
Mr Farage said English people were feeling “ignored” in the independence debate. He argued that the strengthening of the devolution settlement offered by pro-Union parties in the event of a No vote should apply to other parts of the UK, as well as Scotland.
“I am fully in favour of a federal United Kingdom,” said Mr Farage. “We need a new constitutional settlement.
“At the moment, the English are feeling rather ignored in all this, because we've been talking about Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland over the last 17 or 18 years. A new constitutional settlement for the UK, that will suit everyone.”
Asked whether Scottish MPs should continue to vote on English matters in Westminster if devo-max goes ahead, Mr Farage said: “No, I don't think it's right at all. I think the overwhelming majority of opinion is that devolution has to be fair to everybody, and right at the moment that's not working.”
Former City trader Mr Farage predicted that Scotland's banks will move head offices to London if Yes wins next week's vote, in order to avoid a flight of investors.
He accused Mr Salmond of having “no plan for the currency” and warned that Scotland will be required to sign up to a commitment to join the euro if it wants to be a member of the EU.
“If you're an investor and you've got money invested in a Scottish bank and you wake up next Friday and Scotland has voted Yes and you find yourself in the position where the banking industry in Scotland doesn't have a central bank and a lender of last resort, then you will want to withdraw your funds - which is why the banks will want to come south to London,” he said.
Independence for Scotland will leave the UK “diminished globally as a nation”, said Mr Farage, adding: “The message that goes out that you've lost a large chunk of your territory and that a 300-year-old union that has achieved astonishing successes for democracy and freedom worldwide has suddenly broken up, that's not a good message.”