Independence and oil: A slippery business

Our Political Editor looks to the North East of Scotland where the Prime Minster and First Minister have been discussing the future of oil.

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Prime Minister appeals for Scotland to remain part of Britain

The Prime Minister has promised to bridge the gap between the north and south, blaming Labour for allowing regions like ours to fall behind other parts of the UK.

In his speech to the Conservative Conference, David Cameron said he was the man to continue the economic recovery, with a brief appeal for Scotland to remain part of Britain.

Our Political Correspondent Paul Brand watched the speech in Manchester - watch his full report below.

Prime Minister answers your questions

The Prime Minister has been talking to ITV Border's Political Correspondent Paul Brand at the Tory Party conference, where he was answering questions from ITV Border viewers.

Mr Cameron has told decriminalising drugs was not the right thing to do. David Cameron said it would only make them more available and increase their use.

He also said the 2RRF - second battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers - which recruits heavily from this region, must be axed.

This is despite the Defence Secretary being heckled yesterday over the jobs that will be lost in the North East:

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'David Cameron should apologise for Westminster's betrayal of Scotland's communities' says SNP Defence minister

“It is the most enormous blunder for the No campaign to place Trident at the centre of the referendum debate.

"The Parliament and 80 per cent of the people of Scotland want to get rid of Trident, and the obscene waste of up to £100 billion it represents at a time of austerity and savage welfare cuts from Westminster.

"David Cameron should be using this visit as his opportunity to apologise for Westminster's betrayal of Scotland’s communities and its constant broken promises on defence."

– Angus Robertson MP, Spokesperson, Scottish National Party Defence

Cameron says 'keep trident'

As part of his visit to Scotland, David Cameron is due to visit HMS Victorious, a Royal Navy submarine which keeps Trident nuclear missiles continuously at sea.

The Scottish National Party say they would scrap Trident in an independent Scotland.

However, Mr Cameron says it would be 'foolish' to abandon it because of the threat of nuclear attack from North Korea.

Prime Minister in Scotland

The Prime Minister will say the UK is 'stronger and safer together' as he visits Scotland today.

Speaking ahead of a trip to the offices of a defence contractor, David Cameron said:

“Scotland has a world renowned and highly skilled defence sector that employs over 12,600 people and has annual sales in excess of £1.8 billion.

“Being part of the UK opens doors for the Scottish defence industry around the globe. When we sell Typhoons overseas, this benefits jobs and growth for companies making components in Scotland.

“Scotland counts for more on the world stage because it is part of the United Kingdom and Scottish defence jobs are more secure as part of the United Kingdom. "Defence matters. We are stronger and safer together.”

– Prime Minister, David Cameron

Meanwhile, ahead of the visit, Scotland's Deputy First Minister has stepped up calls for David Cameron to agree to a live TV debate with Alex Salmond on Scottish Independence.

"First and foremost in such a referendum debate should be the UK Government’s brutal welfare cuts – and how David Cameron can possibly justify the Westminster system imposing iniquitous measures such as the Bedroom Tax on Scotland when over 90 per cent of Scottish MPs voted against it.

“David Cameron should use his visit to Scotland to speak for himself and agree to a head-to-head debate with Alex Salmond – if he does not, the conclusion we can take is that he is incapable of defending Westminster’s attacks on working families and some of our most vulnerable citizens to the people of Scotland.”

– Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister

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National

Scottish Independence 'would deliver faster growth'

Independence would "provide Scotland with the opportunity to capture and deliver faster sustainable economic growth, with greater opportunities to tackle key challenges in sustainability and inequality over the long-term", according to a report by The Fiscal Commission Working Group.

It described Scotland as a "wealthy country" which is "on a par with many other successful independent countries".

The panel of experts highlighted a number of key strengths in the Scottish economy, including the energy sector, life sciences, food and drink and tourism.

But it said the country faced a number of challenges "not least tackling the long-term growth gap between Scotland and other comparable countries".

It is clear that over the long-term, Scotland has not completely fulfilled its economic potential.

– The Fiscal Commission Working Group report
National

SNP: Govt report shows 'breathtaking arrogance'

The government is making its case against Scottish Independence today.

David Cameron is releasing the first in a series of reports, highlighting how the UK and Scotland benefit from the union.

Speaking in an ITV Daybreak interview Stuart Maxwell from the Scottish National Party said the UK Government's report today showed a "breathtaking arrogance" over their "supposed" recognition of Scotland as an equal partner.

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Scotland would have to 're-negotiate' world relations

Advice on what will happen to Scotland if it became independent from the UK will be published today.

A summary of the report, issued from Downing Street ahead of the publication, revealed that it was an "unusual step" for the Government to publish full legal opinion from experts.

If Scotland became independent, only the remainder of the UK would automatically continue to exercise the same rights, obligations and powers under international law as the UK currently does, and would not have to re-negotiate existing treaties or re-apply for membership of international organisations.

– Government issued summary of the report on Scottish independence

Read: David Cameron launches defence of the United Kingdom

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