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Scottish independence: North east voters back No

Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon in Portlethen, where the Scottish cabinet is meeting. Picture: PA

Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon in Portlethen, where the Scottish cabinet is meeting. Picture: PA

ALMOST two-thirds of voters in the north and north east of Scotland want the country to remain in the UK, according to a poll.

The survey, for the Press and Journal newspaper, found 17 per cent of people agree that Scotland should be an independent country while 65 per cent want to remain part of the UK. The remaining 18 per cent of voters were undecided.

A total of 500 people in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray, Inverness and the Highlands and Islands were questioned for the survey.

The findings were published as both the UK and Scottish Cabinets were meeting in the north east of Scotland.

Prime Minister David Cameron is taking his team of ministers to Aberdeen as he pledges to boost oil production in the North Sea.

Meanwhile, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, whose Cabinet are meeting in nearby Portlethen, has promised to base part of the Scottish energy ministry in Aberdeen if there is a Yes vote in the referendum

More than half (55 per cent) of those questioned for the poll said they felt they had enough information to make an informed decision when they vote on the country’s future on September 18.

Four-fifths (80 per cent) of people surveyed said their voting intentions had not changed in the last six months.

Polls published yesterday by ICM and Panelbase showed that less than half of Scots are planning to vote to stay in the UK, against 37 per cent voting for independence.

A spokesman for the pro-independence campaign Yes Scotland said: “This is a straw poll using a very small sample and the results are totally out of step with what a series of larger polls are showing.

“An analysis of these polls conducted over January and February shows that, excluding those who have yet to make up their minds, average support for Yes stands currently at 43 per cent.

“Given that the gap between Yes and No continues to narrow, we are confident that momentum will continue and we will deliver a majority vote for Yes in September.”

He added: “There are very clear benefits of a Yes vote for people in the north of Scotland - they will have a quarter of MSPs in an independent Scottish Parliament, compared to just 1 per cent of Westminster parliamentarians.”

North East MSP and director of the pro-UK Better Together campaign Richard Baker claimed: “This poll will be a huge source of embarrassment to the nationalists on the day their Cabinet is meeting in an area they would consider to be their heartland.

“It should come as no surprise to anyone to see these results. People understand the massive impact going it alone would have on our vital oil and gas industry.”

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