Scotland politics

Ruth Davidson: UK should speak up for the Union

Ruth Davidson
Image caption Ruth Davidson told delegates at the Tory Party conference that Alex Salmond did not speak for most Scots

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has urged people in the rest of the UK to speak up for the Union.

She told her party's UK conference that everyone had a stake in the future of Britain, whether they had a say in the independence referendum or not.

The people of Scotland will vote in the referendum on 18 September next year.

Ms Davidson said Scoland's First Minister Alex Salmond did not speak for most Scots, arguing the majority were against independence.

She told the Conservative conference in Manchester that, with less than a year to go until polling day, Mr Salmond's government had made £32bn of uncosted promises, including reversing UK benefit reforms and boosting overseas aid.

She said: "Alex Salmond doesn't speak for a majority of Scots. In fact, he never has. Time after time, poll after poll, people in Scotland say they want to stay."

But the Scottish leader said there was no complacency, adding: "In the months ahead we have a lot of work to do to hammer home to people just how much Scotland gains from being part of the UK and how much the United Kingdom benefits from Scotland as a member."

Ms Davidson accused the SNP government of embarking on a "say anything, do anything, promise anything approach to breaking up Britain".

She went on: "I know that many of you living in other parts of the UK won't have a vote - but we all have a stake in the result, and we can all play a part in securing our country for the future."

Recalling the 1995 referendum in which Quebec was asked whether it wanted to become independent from Canada, Ms Davidson said: "The secessionists were ahead until the day itself.

"There was just a 1% margin of victory.

"And the single fact credited with making the difference between staying and going, between uniting the country or dividing the nation - was that the rest of Canada said, 'we want you to stay'."

Ms Davidson added: "Over the next year, when Alex Salmond comes on your television, saying things designed to get right up your nose, know that he's doing it on purpose, and that he doesn't speak for the majority of Scots.

"Know too, that while this is the most important decision in Scotland's history - it also affects each and every one you, no matter where you live."

The referendum will ask voters in Scotland the yes/no question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

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