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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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Salmond says Yes vote offers 'opportunity of a lifetime'

Alex Salmond on arrival for tonight's debate.

Yes campaign leader Alex Salmond has said the independence vote offered Scots "the opportunity of a lifetime".

Beginning his opening address, he said the debate was not if Scotland "could be" but whether it "should be" an independent country.

He said it was wrong that in a "prosperous country of Scotland" young children were still "reliant on food banks" and warned against the UK Government's plan to reinvest billions in funding "weapons of mass destruction" held in Scotland.

Scotland has been "governed by parties that we didn't elect" who brought in policies from "the bedroom tax to the poll tax".

"No one, absolutely no one will do a better job of running Scotland than the people who live and work in Scotland."

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