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Formal Scottish independence campaign period begins

Better Together Director Blair McDougall. Picture: Getty

Better Together Director Blair McDougall. Picture: Getty

Activists on both sides of the Scottish independence debate have hit the streets to convince voters to either stay or leave the UK at the start of the official referendum campaign period.

Glasgow-born actor David Hayman - known for his roles in The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, Still Game and Rob Roy - joined Yes Scotland activists in the city’s Hope Street to urge voters to seize “this wonderful chance to create a better and fairer Scotland”.

Better Together campaign director Blair McDougall was also in Glasgow, joining unionist activists in Govanhill to tell undecided voters “why we are better and stronger together as part of the UK”.

A cap on spending for groups on both sides of the debate comes into force today as the formal campaigning period begins.

It means Yes Scotland and Better Together cannot go beyond £1.5 million each in the 16-week run up to polling day on September 18.

People and groups not registered as permitted participants are restricted to £10,000, but registered groups can spend up to £150,000.

Campaigners will also have to report any donations they receive over £7,500.

Mr Hayman said: “This is the most exciting time in Scotland for more than 300 years. We have the opportunity, the wealth and the creativity to build a new nation built on pillars of fairness and social justice.

“We are rich in resources and rich in people. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take responsibility for our own destiny and to make our own decisions. I cannot think of anything more exciting and inspiring and I would urge everybody, especially those who have yet to make up their minds, to have the confidence to say ‘Yes’.”

Yes Scotland chief executive Blair Jenkins said: “As we move into the formal phase of the campaign, more and more people are tuning into the debate. I’m delighted about that because this is a referendum with two very different narratives.

“The Yes narrative is that an independent Scotland is an opportunity to build a country that is socially and economically in line with our values and priorities. Yes is built on hope and optimism, confidence and self-belief.

“The No narrative is about sowing doubt and fear and blunting confidence in our country and communities. Their only hope is fear.”

Commenting on the start of the campaign period, John McCormick, Electoral Commissioner for Scotland, said: “Campaigners have a vital role to play at any referendum as they set out competing views for voters to choose between.

“At the same time, voters will want to be confident that campaigners are playing by the rules and that there is transparency about how the campaigns are funded. We’ve been working with campaigners to make sure they understand their responsibilities and can comply with the rules and we will be monitoring their activities closely.”

 

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