Scottish independence: Queen urged to air views in hope of saving the union

She previously spoke on the issue in 1977, saying UK has 'benefits' for everyone

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The Independent Online

The Queen has been urged to intervene in the Scottish referendum debate as polls show a surge in support for independence putting next week’s vote on a knife-edge.

According to the latest poll by TNS, the “no” vote is just one point ahead on 39 per cent, with the “yes” side jumping by six points in the last month to 38 per cent.

Such is the concern in Westminster about the ever more likely prospect of Scotland’s secession that some MPs have called for the Queen to make her views known, the Telegraph reported.

Simon Danczuk, the Labour MP for Rochdale, told the paper: “It would mean something to the people of England and Scotland. It would be welcomed - I don't think it would be improper.”

A Conservative MP, Henry Bellingham, agreed, saying it was “legitimate” for people to take notice to take notice of the Queen’s views on the “possible dismemberment of the United Kingdom”.

Video: Will a yes vote change much for the Queen

She spoke on the issue in 1977, when a devolution bill was attempted by the Callaghan Government, saying in a Silver Jubilee speech that she understood the “aspirations” for independence but people should be reminded of the “benefits which the union has conferred” on inhabitants of all parts of the UK.

The Queen’s representatives dismissed suggestions that she would speak on the issue this time, saying she would remain neutral.

She is staying in her Scottish residence, Balmoral, until after the vote on 18 September and no public engagements at which she could speak are scheduled.

Her grandson, the Duke of Cambridge, hinted at royal concerns over the prospect of independence at a visit to Oxford University on Wednesday.

“It's important that we all focus on the big news, the big international and domestic things that are going on at the moment. That's what my thoughts are at the moment,” he said.

Some hope that the news he and the Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their second child would thaw feelings towards the union, bringing back a little of the patriotic sentimentality seen through the royal wedding and Diamond Jubilee.

Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister, has said the Queen would remain the head of state for an independent Scotland.