British PM Addresses Scottish Lawmakers on Scottish Independence Referendum

Posted February 16th, 2012 at 1:25 pm (UTC-5)
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British Prime Minister David Cameron says he is strongly opposed to the idea of Scotland's separation from the United Kingdom during a visit to Edinburgh.

Mr. Cameron told the Scottish parliament Thursday that he will fight to keep the United Kingdom together.

“My argument is simple. Of course Scotland could govern itself. So could England. My point is that we do it so much better together.”

Mr. Cameron met on Thursday with Scotland's National Party leader Alex Salmond, who is pushing for a referendum in September of 2014, ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for 2016. The prime minister is trying to persuade Scottish lawmakers the move is dangerous.

“The danger comes from the determination of the Scottish National Party to remove Scotland from our shared home.”

Salmond said Wednesday that after 300 years of English rule, Scotland's full independence could bring the country more prosperity through renewable energy, such as harnessing the power of wind.

But Mr. Cameron says he does not share that vision. He says Scotland would be richer and safer staying a part of the United Kingdom, which includes Wales, England and Northern Ireland.

“I want to have a United Kingdom where we all bring to the whole so much more than we would be separate.”

He also said the move could lead to the loss of Britain's permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, and diminish the country's global influence.

In released excerpts from his planned speech, the prime minister says the issue of separation involves “head, heart and soul”.

Opinion polls show about a third of Scottish people support independence.

Scotland gained partial autonomy from England in 1999, forming its own parliament.