BRITAIN is to host next year's Nato summit - possibly just weeks before the independence referendum.

It means the issue of an independent Scotland becoming a member of the nuclear alliance may be debated internationally before the poll on September 18, 2014. Britain will hold the high-profile biennial event for the first time since the end of the Cold War in 1990.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said no decision had yet been made on when and where to hold the summit, leaving open the possibility of Scotland, which would have to be agreed with fellow Nato members.

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The Coalition Government has already announced it will hold Britain's Armed Forces Day in Stirling on June 28 - just days after the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn.