Alex Salmond denies defeat in independence debate

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond has refused to concede he lost last night's independence debate despite most most of this morning's newspaper headlines handing victory to the leader of the No campaign Alistair Darling.

The debate over Scottish independence has taken place with the first live television clash between the First Minister Alex Salmond and the man leading the campaign to keep the UK together Alistair Darling being shown on STV.

A poll conducted by ICM for the Guardian has found that Alistair Darling won the first Scottish independence debate by 56% to Alex Salmond's 44%.

There are now just over six weeks to go until voters in Scotland decide whether to remain in the UK or become an independent nation in the September 18 referendum.

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Poll shows boost for Yes campaign as debate begins

A new poll has shown an increase in support for independence as the first televised head-to-head clash between campaign leaders Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling gets under way.

Alex Salmond is bidding for Scotland to leave the union. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

The Ipsos MORI poll for STV News showed a rise in support for the Yes campaign, while support for the Better Togther No campaign is unchanged.

Some 40% of those who said they were "certain to vote" said they supported independence - an increase of four percentage points from June.

Alistair Darling is fighting to keep Scotland in the UK. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Meanwhile the proportion of people who favour Scotland staying part of the UK remained static at 54%. Just 6% of those polled said they had not yet decided how they would vote, down from 10% in June.

A total of 1,006 people north of the border were questioned between July 28 and August 3 for the research.

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