Scottish independence: Salmond renews debate call

David Cameron, left and Alex Salmond cheer on Andy Murray. Salmond has renewed calls for a debate. Picture: Getty

David Cameron, left and Alex Salmond cheer on Andy Murray. Salmond has renewed calls for a debate. Picture: Getty

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ALEX Salmond has renewed his challenge to David Cameron to take part in a debate on Scottish independence after it was reported that the Scottish and UK Cabinets are to meet within miles of each other.

A new TNS poll commissioned by philanthropist Sir Tom Hunter shows more than two thirds of voters think the Prime Minister should debate with the Scottish First Minister ahead of September’s vote.

Mr Cameron has repeatedly ruled out facing Mr Salmond live on television, insisting the debate is for the people of Scotland.

In a new letter to Number 10, Mr Salmond said: “It has been reported that you plan to hold a meeting of your Cabinet in the North East on February 24.

“By happy coincidence, the Scottish Cabinet are meeting in Portlethen on the same day, followed by a public question and answer session with some of the people who will be deciding Scotland’s future in September’s referendum. As you will know, Portlethen is just seven miles from Aberdeen.

“UK Government ministers, including yourself, regularly come to Scotland to make the case against independence, and yet you consistently refuse to debate the issues with me.

“Once again, I challenge you to that debate, an encounter which is supported by the overwhelming majority of the people of Scotland - and indeed by people across the rest of the UK as well.

“As we will both be in the same area on February 24th, that would be the ideal time and place.”

Mr Cameron wrote to Mr Salmond last year stating his belief that the debate should be led in Scotland by former chancellor Alistair Darling, head of the Better Together campaign to keep Scotland in the UK.

A Downing Street spokeswoman confirmed that the UK Cabinet will meet in Scotland, with location details to be released nearer the time.

Commenting on Mr Salmond’s letter, she said: “The Prime Minster made his position on this very clear in the letter he wrote to the First Minister last year.”

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