THE "Yes" campaign for independence is to be launched by Alex Salmond later this month, the Sunday Herald understands.

The First Minister will appear alongside other advocates of independence on Friday, May 25 at an as yet undisclosed location.

Salmond announced earlier this year that the launch would quickly follow the local elections. The launch is due just a fortnight after the close next Friday of the Scottish Government's consultation on an independence referendum.

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The Government yesterday said it had received a "fantastic response", with more than 16,000 contributions to date. The consultation asked for views on whether there should be a second question on the ballot covering more powers for Holyrood short of independence, and whether 16 and 17-year-olds should vote on it.

Salmond has already said his preferred question would be, "Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?" However, other parties have criticised this as a leading question designed to elicit a "Yes".

The UK Government received around 3000 responses to its consultation. Most respondents said they wanted the plebiscite sooner than the SNP's date of October 2014. However, around half the submissions followed a template from the Scottish Labour website.