UK & World News

  • 14 March 2014, 6:49

PM To Deny Bullying Over Scottish Referendum

David Cameron will reject claims that Westminster is guilty of bullying tactics over the Scottish referendum, insisting it is right to lay out the potential "consequences" of a yes vote.

In a speech to the Conservative Scottish conference, the Prime Minister will lay out warnings from the Governor of the Bank of England, the President of the European Commission, business chiefs from companies like BP and Shell, as well as RBS, Lloyds and Barclays.

"These are not political puppets, they are serious, non-partisan figures," he will tell Tory delegates in Edinburgh on Friday afternoon.

He will argue that Scotland is safer in the UK because the other countries will always be there to back it up - in a way not possible if it becomes a foreign country.

And Mr Cameron will try to persuade Scots to vote 'no' by telling them to think like consumers buying goods who would look at the evidence and avoid risky ventures.

"This referendum is a major life decision - and you don't make one of those without getting all the information you can," he will say.

"You wouldn't buy a house without getting a survey. You wouldn't choose a car without an MOT.

"And you shouldn't make a decision about changing your nation - forever- without knowing in full what the consequences may be."

The SNP has accused Westminster figures of using bully-boy tactics in the campaign by scaring people about what might happen to an independent Scotland, including being blocked from the EU or refused the pound.

Mr Cameron will insist the risks are real.

He will highlight arguments by the Bank of England's Mark Carney around the challenges of maintaining a currency union. And he will talk about comments by Jose Manuel Barroso.

The European Commission president has said it will not be possible to fast-track an independent Scotland back into the EU as the SNP has promised.

Instead, there would need to be full accession - a process that would take many years and would collapse if even one country vetoed it.

Mr Barroso said it would be difficult "if not impossible" to secure that agreement - particularly from countries such as Spain with separatist movements.

The SNP has hit back at that argument, saying neither Spain or any other country has threatened to block Scottish membership.

"The idea that these are empty warnings and political scaremongering is a myth and we owe it to the people of Scotland to take that myth apart," Mr Cameron is expected to say.

He will refer to this year's Commonwealth Games in Scotland, which some believe could help the SNP by boosting patriotism.

"You want to know something wonderful? When the call went out for volunteers at Glasgow 2014 more than a quarter of those that responded were from the UK," Mr Cameron will say.

"People who were happy to travel hundreds of miles to stay with friends or relatives to give their time for free and be part of it.

"Because it's not 'over the border', it is not a foreign country, this is our home and when any corner of these islands needs back-up or support, the rest is there."

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