Scottish independence: STV confirm Darling and Salmond TV debate date

Salmond and Darling STV will host a live TV debate with Better Together's Alistair Darling and First Minister Alex Salmond

A televised referendum debate between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling will go ahead next month after a dispute over dates was settled.

Broadcaster STV confirmed the head-to-head would take place on 5 August.

First Minister Mr Salmond will put the case for Scottish independence and Mr Darling, chairman of Better Together, will argue for the UK to stay together.

The date was agreed on Wednesday afternoon following weeks of wrangling between the two sides.

The people of Scotland will go to the polls on 18 September when they will be asked the "Yes/No" question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

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Scotland Decides
  • A referendum on whether Scotland should become independent is to take place
  • People resident in Scotland will be able to take part in the vote, answering the "yes/no" question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"
  • The referendum will take place on Thursday 18 September, 2014
  • Go to the BBC's Scotland Decides page for analysis, background and explainers on the independence debate.
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Ahead of the vote, STV had been negotiating with the rival campaigns over a live leader debate.

The two sides failed to agree on an initial 16 July proposal, and then there was a fall-out over a revised offer of 5 August.

Mr Salmond had wanted to debate with Prime Minister David Cameron on the commercial station in July. But Better Together said it had agreed with STV that former Labour chancellor Mr Darling would be going up against the SNP leader.

Negotiations stalled and the pro-Union camp went on to criticise the Glasgow-based broadcaster for "repudiating" the July date and suggesting 5 August.

Deal finalised

However, both sides resumed discussions and have finalised the debate deal.

A spokesman for Mr Salmond said: "We accepted this invitation weeks ago and are delighted that Alistair Darling has finally done likewise and accepted the challenge of debating with the first minister on live TV, in front of a large audience of voters.

"Mr Darling will be acting as a shield for the prime minister - who we will continue to pursue for a debate - and as such he will be defending the Tory policies of David Cameron's government."

A spokesman for Better Together said: "We are delighted that there will be a live, televised debate between the leaders of both campaigns.

"Alex Salmond will now finally have to answer questions on the pound, pensions and public services that he has spent the last two years dodging."

The two-hour live TV debate, to be hosted by STV political editor Bernard Ponsonby, will be broadcast in front of a 350-strong audience from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow.

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    Charlie Flynn

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    William Mailer

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  43.  
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    Marlko, Clydebank: There is nothing new in traffic officers dishing out verbal warnings. I was a road patrol officer in the late 60's and 70's in the Glasgow Police. VW were issued everyday and recorded in the VW register at the road patrol office. We could check the register to see if an offender had been warned before; if so, we could change our way of dealing with the case.

    Andy in the Borders: I hope while the police have their purge on bad drivers they will also do something about the drivers blatantly flouting the law by driving with their lights on. Also, the new phenomenon of daytime running lights, drivers using them and nothing else in dark hours. I'm sure I can't be the only driver being affected by these idiots.

     
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  47.  
    09:00: Paralysed man walks again John Beattie BBC Scotland

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  48.  
    08:54: BBC Scotland Travel Latest

    Orkney Ferries - no sailings Stromness and North Hoy, and North Hoy and Graemsay, bad weather.

    Banchory B974 closed by overturned car btwn A93 High St/ B976. A car is on its side about 1/2 mile prior to Strachan. No delays reported.

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  49.  
    08:52: Weather update James Cook Scotland Correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: Bridge restrictions. Some trees down. Ferry disruption. All fairly standard for an autumn gale in Scotland so far:

    ex-Hurrican Gonzalo
     
  50.  
    08:51: Pedal power

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  51.  
    08:47: Tune in Louise White Presenter, Morning Call

    The number of verbal and physical assaults on school staff has risen in nearly half of Scottish council areas, according to statistics. Is a zero tolerance approach the best way to deal with abusive pupils?

    Louise White

    And motorists are facing a major crackdown by police, who will target bad drivers as they focus on roadside re-education. Do you think a warning can stop bad driving?

    The lines are open now, 0500 92 95 00 or text 80295.

    You can listen live here.

     
  52.  
    08:39: After the big vote... Graham Fraser BBC Scotland

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  53.  
    08:36: High winds 'biggest issue'

    As strong winds hit Scotland as the remains of Hurricane Gonzalo pass over the country, Transport Minister Keith Brown has been speaking on Good Morning Scotland about the weather concerns.

    Transport Minister Keith Brown

    "We have some localised issues - for example, fallen trees on some roads," he said. "We have some flooding and some disruption to ferry services, because of the high winds which seems to be the biggest issue just now."

    Mr Brown also advised people using Scotland's transport network today to "give themselves more time".

    "Giving yourself that additional time means you get to your destination safely and on time," he added.

    "For some parts of Scotland, the weather will particularly become more pronounced through the evening hours. The same advice is true."

     
  54.  
    08:25: Back-page headlines

    Rangers boss Ally McCoist is optimistic about funding talks between former Ibrox director Dave King and the current board, report The Herald and The Scotsman.

    On-loan Celtic striker Teemu Pukki says he is tempted to stay at Brondby beyond the January transfer window.

    Rangers boss Ally McCoist

    And Sir Alex Ferguson has led the tributes to Glenn Gibbons, the former chief football writer of The Scotsman, who has died aged 69.

    Read the rest of the headlines making the back pages here.

     
  55.  
    08:21: Living with a smoker

    Non-smokers who live with a smoker are exposed to three times the officially recommended safe levels of damaging air particles, according to a study.

    The researchers found that living with smokers is the same as living in smoke-free homes in heavily polluted cities such as Beijing or London.

    A man smoking

    They said moving to smoke-free homes could have major health benefits for non-smokers.

    The study, published online in the BMJ's Tobacco Control journal, was carried out by researchers at the universities of Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

     
  56.  
    08:15: Wet weather BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    The worst of the wet weather is across the north east at the moment and it will continue to clear away eastwards and be replaced by showers throughout the day.

    We are looking at some snow over the hills, the Highlands and Grampian. There will be a few wintry showers over the highest road routes, but nothing will settle.

    Man with umbrella

    It will stay cold throughout the day - highs of eight or nine degrees, falling to four or five in the showers. It is the winds that are of concern throughout the day. A Met Office Yellow 'Be Aware' warning is in force - gusts of 60 to 70mph across the west, up to 80mph for Orkney, 50-55mph across the central belt.

    Those strong winds will transfer to the north east through the day.

     
  57.  
    08:10: Today's papers

    The Scottish Sun and the Daily Record lead with an alleged assault on Celtic goalkeeper Lukasz Zaluska.

    Front pages 21 October

    Meanwhile, The Scotsman looks at statistics which it says shows an increase in the number of assaults on teachers.

    Read the rest of our newspaper review here.

     
  58.  
    08:03: Travel disruption BBC Scotland Travel Latest

    Blustery, but we're managing! Main problem around many roads from Inverness to Borders are leaves and falling branches around wooded areas. Cal Mac services Arran 08:20 from Brodick & 09:45 from Ardrossan have been cancelled.

     
  59.  
    08:01: Weather sparks travel warning

    Winds up to 75mph are expected to hit Scotland as the remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo pass over the country.

    The west coast is predicted to be worst affected, with heavy rain also forecast throughout today.

    High waves at Ardrossan

    The Met Office has issued a yellow "be aware" warning of wind throughout Scotland.

    The A87 Skye Bridge has been closed to high-sided vehicles, as has the A90 Forth Road Bridge and there has also been disruption to some ferry services.

    Traffic Scotland has warned of difficult driving conditions and the potential for some disruption on the roads.

    There are reports of fallen trees and other debris on the roads, but police say all major routes are open.

    The strongest gust so far has been 64mph recorded on the Forth Road Bridge shortly after 06:00.

     
  60.  
    08:00: Welcome Thomas McGuigan BBC Scotland News

    Good warming and a very warm welcome from the Scotland Live team as we bring you a comprehensive round-up of the latest news, sport, travel and weather between now and 18:00.

     

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