Cameron urges Britons to fight to keep Scotland

February 08, 2014 - 2:42:03 am

British Prime Minister David Cameron delivers a speech on Scottish independence in the Olympic Park in east London yesterday.

LONDON: British Prime Minister David Cameron urged people in all parts of the United Kingdom yesterday to persuade their Scottish friends and family to vote “no” to independence in September’s referendum.

In an impassioned speech in London, Cameron warned there were “seven months to save the most extraordinary country in history”, ahead of the September 18 vote which threatens to break up the UK.

Only four million Scots can vote, but the British leader reached out to the 59 million people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, which he said would be “deeply diminished without Scotland”.

“Get on the phone, get together, email, tweet, speak let the message ring out... We want you to stay,” Cameron said.

“You don’t have a vote, but you do have a voice. Those voting are our friends, neighbours and family. You do have an influence.”

Cameron, whose Conservative party has only one member of parliament in Scotland, said his own Highland roots were an example of how family ties crossed UK borders.

Polls show increasing support for the “yes” campaign, led by the Scottish National Party (SNP) in power in Edinburgh, although the “no” vote remains ahead—and Cameron said there could be “no complacency”.

He delivered his speech at the site of the London 2012 Olympic Games, on the opening day of the Sochi Winter Games, and highlighted how all parts of the UK pulled together behind “Team GB” during the sporting contest.

Citing also the global clout, the economic benefits and the shared history and values of the UK “family”, Cameron said: “We come as a brand—a powerful brand.

“If we lost Scotland, if the UK changed, we would rip the rug from under our own reputation. The plain fact is we matter more in the world together.”

The SNP accused Cameron of running scared by giving his speech in London and continuing to refuse to take part in a television debate with First Minister Alex Salmond.

“This is a cowardly speech from a prime minister who uses the Olympic Park in London to give high-handed lectures against Scotland’s independence, but hasn’t got the guts to come to Scotland or anywhere else to make his case in a head-to-head debate,” said Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

AFP

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