Lawmakers urge British leaders to fight harder to prevent Scotland split

by Reuters
Wednesday, 3 September 2014 13:34 GMT

LONDON, Sept 3 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron was urged by fellow lawmakers on Wednesday to "drop everything else and fight" to keep Scotland part of the United Kingdom, two weeks before a referendum vote which polls show is becoming increasingly close.

The Sept. 18 referendum featured heavily in Cameron's weekly question and answer session in parliament, just a day after an opinion poll showing support for independence at its highest-ever level threw the fate of the United Kingdom into question.

Edward Leigh, a member of Cameron's Conservative party, said that leaders of Britain's three main political parties - all of whom are campaigning against independence - had been complacent that they would win the vote.

"Can I urge them in the next two weeks to drop everything else and to stand shoulder to shoulder to fight for the union," he said to cheers of support from many fellow members of parliament inside the debating chamber.

"If we were to lose the union, that would not only be a disaster for Scotland but a national humiliation of catastrophic proportions."

The unionists had enjoyed a healthy lead over independence supporters throughout much of the campaign, but the gap has narrowed since a televised debate last month in which nationalist leader Alex Salmond was judged to have bested his main opponent from the "Better Together" campaign.

In response to Leigh, Cameron said he agreed on the importance of the referendum and promised that he was working closely with his Labour and Liberal Democrat counterparts.

"In spite of the political differences we have, we agree about one thing: not just that Scotland is better off inside the United Kingdom, but that the United Kingdom is better off with Scotland inside it," he said. (Reporting by William James; editing by Stephen Addison)

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