Scottish independence: David Cameron ‘jumped the gun on ballot deal’ claims Alex Salmond

ALEX Salmond has accused the UK government of jumping the gun over a deal on the independence referendum.

• Cameron urges Salmond to stick with single-question referendum

• Concerns that process could drag on beyond October 2014 if referendum question decision is not made quickly enough

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The First Minister warned it would be “very unwise” to say an agreement had been reached until one was in place.

Mr Salmond’s comments came after former Scottish secretary David Mundell appeared to suggest at the Tory conference on Tuesday that an agreement has been reached on limiting the ballot to a straight Yes/No question.

Yesterday, David Cameron used his keynote conference speech to claim there was nothing more important than keeping the UK together.

But Mr Salmond said party conferences were “excitable places” as he insisted there were still areas of disagreement between the UK and Scottish governments.

“We’re at the stage where we’re close to an agreement, but it’s not done yet,” he said. “It would be very unwise to say there was an agreement when one’s not been made yet.

“I appreciate that political conferences are excitable places, but it’s not at all sensible politics to announce an agreement before it has been made. We’re hopeful of an agreement, but there are still a couple of issues.”

The Prime Minister and Mr Salmond are due to meet on Monday and are expected to agree on a plan which will involve a referendum which asks a single Yes/No question on whether Scotland should leave the United Kingdom.

It is understood the agreement will also extend the vote to include those aged over 16 in Scotland.

Meanwhile, former Scottish secretary Lord Forsyth said plans to over 16s to vote in the referendum would “bring politics into our schools”.