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Rifkind: Independent Scotland would be less safe

Terrorists would strike the new nation or the rest of Great Britain more easily after a Yes vote in Scotland, a former foreign and defence secretary has said.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind Credit: PA

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Conservative MP Sir Malcom Rifkind warned that even as a Scot, his loyalty "was to the United Kingdom", adding that the argument that a Scottish army would provide the same security as now "would be laughable if it was not so worrying."

It has taken MI5 and GCHQ more than 70 years to achieve their expertise. Scotland would become a much easier option for terrorists to commit outrages there or as a back route to England and Wales.

– Sir Malcolm Rifkind

Manchester devolution 'will be blueprint' for UK cities

English cities should be able to set its own taxes, the director of a think tank has suggested, calling for full devolution in Manchester.

Phillip Blond, of ResPublica, said:

Financial freedom must come to Greater Manchester. Its population is bigger than Northern Ireland's. Its economy is bigger than Wales. And it has a higher growth rate than Scotland.

This is why it should be able to set its own taxes. It should have an elected Mayor.

These plans outlined in today's report, will allow it to turn its fortunes around, lifting the population out of the doldrums. This is a blueprint for independence for cities in England.

– Philip Blond

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Manchester 'should lead devolution' in the UK

Manchester should be given income-tax raising powers and complete control of spending within five years as a blueprint for granting full devolution to English cities, a think tank said.

General view of the Trafford Centre in Manchester Credit: PA

Scotland's independence referendum - and the extensive new powers promised even in the event of a No vote - has refocused attention on local powers in the rest of the UK, including England.

ResPublica said a Greater Manchester Combined Authority, with an elected mayor and assembly as in London, should first be given power over property taxes and then income taxes and the right to reinvest savings to increase revenue.

The new authority would also be expected to commit to devolving further to localities within its area, according to the "Devo Max - Devo Manc" report.

Beckham urges Scotland 'to stay together'

Footballer David Beckham has added his voice to the campaign against Scottish independence, urging voters north of the border not to ditch a bond which was "the envy of the entire world".

The ex-England captain said he was proud to have represented the UK as part of the team that secured the 2012 Olympics for London and then was "thrilled to watch us competing together against the world" at the Games.

David Beckham, who has added his voice to the campaign against Scottish independence, urging voters north of the border not to ditch a bond Credit: PA

"We worked together to bring the greatest sporting event of them all to our nation and I was thrilled to watch us competing together against the world", he said in an open letter, released by the "Let's Stay Together" campaign group as it announced it had secured the backing of more than 100,000 people for its appeal to keep the UK together.

"I took as much satisfaction in seeing Sir Chris Hoy or Andy Murray win gold as I did watching Jess Ennis and Mo Farah do the same in the Olympic Stadium.

"What unites us is much greater than what divides us. Let's stay together."

Queen joins in on Scottish referendum debate

A new and unexpected voice was added to the Scottish independence debate today. Buckingham Palace had said the Queen would not be commenting on Thursday's referendum, but today she suggested that Scots should "think carefully about the future" before they vote.

ITV News Correspondent Martin Geissler reports from Edinburgh, where both sides are taking their campaigning down to the wire.

'More than half living in UK' want Scotland union

More than half of people living in England, Wales and Northern Ireland do not want Scotland to become an independent country, according to a poll.

The One Poll survey of 5,000 adults in the UK for Good Morning Britain found that 53% of respondents outside Scotland did not want the country to leave, compared to 21% who did want the country to go it alone.

New poll from Good Morning Britain suggests more than half or respondents in UK do not want Scotland to leave Credit: PA

It also revealed that nearly half (48%) said they did not care whether Scotland becomes an independent country, while 42% said they did not think it would make any difference to their lives.

The survey shows some concerns about the financial impact of an independent Scotland on the rest of the UK.

More than half of respondents (52%) said they would not be better off financially in the event of a Yes vote, while only 16% thought the opposite. The survey was carried out between September 3 and 12 across the United Kingdom.

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Scotland gears up for biggest week in modern history

Campaigners for both the Yes and No camps have been out all weekend as Scotland gears up for their biggest week in modern history.

With the polls still so close, the fight is on to win over the half a million or so undecided voters who will determine Britain's future.

ITV News Correspondent Martin Geissler has this report:

Protesters claim BBC referendum coverage 'biased'

Up to 1,000 protesters gathered outside BBC HQ in Scotland. Credit: PA

Up to 1,000 Yes supporters held a demo outside BBC Scotland's headquarters today in protest over the broadcaster's coverage of the referendum.

The protesters claim reporting has been "biased" against independence ahead of the vote on Thursday.

Protesters claim the BBC has been 'biased' against independence. Credit: PA

Protester Dean Toner, 20, from Uddingston, Lanarkshire said: "It's been a completely one-sided street. There's not been any coverage, proper true coverage, of the Yes campaign and it's not good enough any more."

Many demonstrators waved Saltires and Lion rampant flags while others were adorned with Yes stickers.

Yes campaigner Stella Winters shows her support. Credit: PA

A BBC spokeswoman said: "We believe our coverage of the referendum has been rigorously impartial and in line with our guidelines on fairness and impartiality."

Queen hopes Scots 'think very carefully' about vote

The Queen pictured speaking to crowds at Crathie Church, Aberdeenshire today. Credit: Donald Stewart

The Queen has urged Scottish voters to "think very carefully" before casting their ballots in Thursday's referendum.

She was heard making the off-camera remarks to members of the public during a visit to Crathie Church in Aberdeenshire.

The Telegraph newspaper said it understood the monarch had told the small crowd:

You have an important vote on Thursday.

I hope everybody thinks very carefully about the referendum this week.

– The Queen

It is thought to be her first public comment on the issue of Scottish independence.

Top economist: Ignore 'scaremongering' over Yes vote

One of the world's most eminent economists has said there is "little basis" for what he called "scaremongering" over the consequences of Scottish independence.

Nobel prize winner Joseph Sitglitz's remarks contradict fellow laureate Paul Krugman's claim that Scots should be "very afraid" of a Yes vote in next week's referendum.

Writing in the Scotsman, he criticised the claim Scotland would suffer from having a relatively small economy.

Joseph Stiglitz said there was "little basis" to some of the No campaign's arguments. Credit: Arne Dedert/DPA/Press Association Images

"By an order of magnitude, far more important than size is the pursuit of the right policies."

He also dismissed concerns about currency arrangements, saying the fact Scotland has different "vision and values" to the rest of the UK was more important.

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