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Salmond and Darling prepare for second TV debate

First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond and the leader of the Better Together campaign Alistair Darling are preparing to take part in the second televised debate on the Scottish Referendum.

The leaders will debate four topics: Economy, Scotland at Home, Scotland in the World and What Happens after the Vote. They will also have a chance to cross-examine each other.

First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond (L) and leader of the Better Together campaign Alistair Darling at the first televised debate
First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond (L) and leader of the Better Together campaign Alistair Darling at the first televised debate Credit: STV

The debate kicks off at 8:30pm and will screened on BBC Scotland One and across the UK on BBC Two.

Salmond takes Ice Bucket Challenge and nominates PM

The First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, has taken the Ice Bucket Challenge in response to an invitation from Alistair Darling.

In return, he nominated Prime Minister David Cameron remarking that he "saw him in a wetsuit the other day so I know he's got the equipment".

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ALEX SALMOND HAS NOMINATED DAVID CAMERON FOR ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE. Over to you, PM. http://t.co/suHCvPby2e

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He was joined by the deputy leader of the Scottish National Party Nicola Sturgeon.

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Salmond reiterates calls for independence debate

Alex Salmond has reiterated his calls for a debate on Scottish independence with the Prime Minister.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond pictured in 2009. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

The move comes after a new poll suggesting English politicians getting involved in a debate would more likely make Scots vote for independence.

The Scottish First Minister also said he was surprised by Barack Obama's comments on independence.

Read: Barack Obama backs Scotland staying within the UK

He said:

"It was certainly surprising because the American government had made it very clear that they were staying studiously neutral in the democratic referendum that is taking place in Scotland.

"But of course David Cameron has been begging everybody internationally to say anything to help him in his travails at the present moment."

Lib Dems want 'stronger Scotland within UK family'

Pro-union campaigners and party activists should make a positive case for a "stronger Scottish parliament which stays in the UK family", Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said.

Scottish and English flags held up over Edinburgh, Scotland. Credit: David Cheskin/PA Archive

Read: Barack Obama backs Scotland staying within UK

In a message to activists, he said: "With 100 days until the referendum, Liberal Democrats have a golden opportunity to loudly state our case for home rule for Scotland in a federal United Kingdom.

"We know that the majority of people in our communities, in our colleges and workplaces believe Scotland has the best of both worlds as part of the UK family.

"They agree with our liberal message that Scotland benefits from a strong Scottish parliament which shapes its own domestic agenda on matters like health and education whilst working across the UK family to boost jobs and growth.

"But we need to make sure that that majority of people hear our message over the summer months. I need you to get out and make our positive, sunshine case for a stronger Scotland which works together as part of the UK."

Read: Salmond claims Independence creates economic opportunity for UK

Salmond: Yes vote only guarantee of further powers

Independence is the only guarantee of more powers for Scotland despite pro-union parties outlining plans for further devolution under a No vote, First Minister Alex Salmond said.

There now appears to be consensus among all the main parties that Scotland needs substantially more powers.

But a Yes vote is the only option on the ballot paper which offers those powers.

Scotland is a hugely wealthy country. Official figures show that, as an independent nation, we would be the 14th most prosperous per head in the developed world, ahead of France, Japan and the UK itself.

– Alex Salmond, First Minister

Read: Salmond claims Independence creates economic opportunity for UK

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Scotland urged to grasp independence 'with both hands'

First Minister Alex Salmond has urged Scotland to grasp independence "with both hands" as the 100-day countdown to the referendum approaches.

Flags outside a Scottish memorabilia shop on Edinburgh's Royal Mile. Credit: David Cheskin/PA Wire

Mr Salmond said: "Tomorrow marks the start of that countdown to what will be one of the most exciting and historic days this nation has ever seen.

"It will be a decision on whether we are to be an independent country once again, joining the international community as an equal partner after an absence of more than 300 years.

"The referendum on September 18 is the biggest opportunity Scotland has had in those three centuries and it is one I firmly believe we will grasp with both hands".

He added that the "eyes of the world are on Scotland" but the international focus would only remain "with a Yes vote" on September 18.

Read: Barack Obama backs Scotland staying within UK

Salmond: Independence creates opportunity for UK

First Minister Alex Salmond said Scottish Independence will create an opportunity for the rest of the UK "to address the economic and social challenges it faces".

First Minister Alex Salmond addresses the SNP Spring Conference. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Mr Salmond, who is confident of a Yes vote on September 18, made the comments as the 100-day countdown to the referendum approaches.

He said: "Independence will mean Scotland is no longer subject to Westminster policies imposed against the wishes of our democratic representatives".

"A quarter of a century ago it was Margaret Thatcher's poll tax - today it is the bedroom tax and the ongoing obscenity of Trident weapons of mass destruction located just a short distance from Scotland's largest city.

"An independent Scotland will also help to rebalance the economy across these islands, to everyone's benefit, and present an opportunity for the rest of the UK to address the economic and social challenges it faces."

Read: Barack Obama backs Scotland staying within UK

Salmond hears 'moving memories' of D-Day veterans

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond said he has been speaking to D-Day veterans and hearing their "moving" memories of the events that took place 70 years ago.

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Has been moving to hear memories from #DDay70 veterans. We owe such debt for democratic freedoms we cherish today. http://t.co/zXQm6wjYrb

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With John Millin - son of Bill Millin who played bagpipes on Sword Beach on invasion day to rouse troops #DDay70 http://t.co/o2OGhAzCIS

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Inspiring to meet Normandy veteran, sapper John Buchanan Smith. Remember with pride & gratitude all involved #DDay70 http://t.co/17r6hnr4PS

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World leaders and veterans mark D-Day's 70th anniversary: Latest updates

Alex Salmond comments compared to Kim Jong-il

Alex Salmond described the comparison to North Korea's former leader as 'pathetic'.
Alex Salmond described the comparison to North Korea's former leader as 'pathetic'. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Scotland's First Minister has been likened to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il by the man leading the campaign to keep the country in the United Kingdom.

Former Chancellor Alastair Darling told the New Statesman that Mr Salmond had "said on the BBC that people voted Ukip in Scotland because English TV was being beamed in to Scotland".

He added: "This was a North Korean response. This is something that Kim Jong-il would say."

The Better Together campaign said afterwards the comment was "a joke" but a spokesman for the Scottish First Minister demanded Mr Darling apologise for the "pathetic, puerile remarks".

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