Scotland politics

Scottish independence: Vote No Borders advert pulled over child hospital claim

Vote No Borders advert Image copyright Vote No Borders
Image caption The advert claimed Scots would find it difficult to get treatment at the children's hospital after independence

A group which campaigns against Scottish independence has withdrawn a cinema advert after a complaint from a children's hospital.

The Vote No Borders advert featured two actors discussing the implications of independence.

One of them claimed Scots would need to join a "long list of foreigners waiting to be seen" at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.

The hospital said it did not endorse the message in any way.

The advert was shown in cinemas, and was also posted on Youtube and the Vote No Borders website.

A spokesman for the hospital said: "Great Ormond Street hospital was not consulted about this advertising, and we in no way endorse its messages, or that of any other political campaign group.

"We have contacted the Vote No Borders group to request that the advert is removed from cinemas as soon as possible.

"We would like to reassure Scottish families that we already have reciprocal health care agreements with numerous countries, and we regularly treat patients from across Europe because of our very specialist expertise."

In a statement, Vote No Borders said its adverts were designed to "highlight the key concerns of voters".

It added: "The cinema adverts show two people discussing practical questions such as passports and healthcare in a post-Separation Scotland.

"They could have mentioned any number of specialist hospitals in the advert and we appreciate the sensitivities of Great Ormond Street Hospital and have removed the particular advert mentioning them from our website.

"Our cinema campaign finished yesterday".

Willie Wilson, co-founder of the pro-independence NHS for Yes group, described the advert as a "new low for the 'No' campaign" and said it had "now reduced to using sick children to scare people into voting 'No'".

Official campaigners

He added: "The 'No' campaign have repeatedly made false claims such as this. It is now essential that they withdraw all of their misleading literature and apologise to Scottish families whom they have needlessly distressed."

Vote No Borders was formally launched on 1 May by millionaire financier Malcolm Offord, who has previously donated to the Conservative party. The company is registered to an address in London.

It describes itself as a "non-party political and people's campaign" which "believes there are diverse positive reasons for Scotland to remain within the Union".

It is one of 14 groups and individuals who have registered with the Electoral Commission as official campaigners ahead of the independence referendum on 18 September.

Earlier this week, it emerged that the Vue, Odeon and Cineworld cinema groups are to stop screening all referendum adverts following "customer feedback".

The independent Glasgow Film Theatre had already stopped running referendum adverts, after customers told cinema managers they wanted to "retreat from the real world".

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