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Sturgeon attacks 'threats' to voters from No camp

ATTEMPTS to "scare and threaten" Scottish voters over the referendum are destroying the idea of equal partnership in the UK, according to Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The UK Government's approach shows power really lies in London at the expense of devolved administrations in Edinburgh and Cardiff, added the DFM.

She made the remarks in a speech in the Welsh capital, suggesting Scottish independence would stop parts of the UK having to compete for shares of "our own money".

She said: "There is no doubt the conduct of the No campaign - which includes the UK Government - is laying bare the truth of where the Westminster elite thinks power really lies in the UK.

"The very foundation stone on which the No campaign is built is actually being demolished by the leaders of that campaign."

She added that those opposed to independence used to claim that the UK - as it currently stands - is an equal partnership of nations and of people.

"But in its attempts to scare, and now threaten, voters in Scotland, the No campaign is destroying the very idea that the UK is an equal partnership. That notion is being torn apart on an almost daily basis," she said.

"The leaders of the No campaign are going out of their way to demonstrate where they think power really lies. As far as the UK Government is concerned power rests with one party in this relationship - with Westminster."

A Better Together spokesman said: "This is utter nonsense. We know what the nationalist definition of being negative is - it is asking them a question that they don't have the answer to."

Delivering a lecture at the Wales Governance Conference in Cardiff, two years to the day before the SNP's planned Independence Day in the event of a Yes vote, she confirmed that by the summer a draft constitution for an independent Scotland would be published.

She also claimed that Scottish independence would shift the centre of gravity of the home nations away from London and be good for the English regions, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Deputy First Minister also looked forward to Scotland taking up its seat as the third sovereign nation on the British-Irish Council, pledging to be a good friend to Cardiff and Belfast.

But most of her fire was directed at Westminster. Ms Sturgeon said that an obligation to pay a share of debt without a right to "a share of the assets that we have helped to construct, build and pay for" demonstrated a lack of equality and respect.

"The institutions of the UK have been made and paid for by people in Scotland just as much as by people in other parts of the UK. We have paid our taxes. We have made our national insurance contributions. We have paid our TV licence fees," she said.

"People from Scotland have worked in and contributed to the development of the UK's institutions. The Bank of England was even founded by a Scot. As was the BBC.

"But as far as the Westminster government and its allies are concerned we have no stake in the very institutions we have helped to fund and build up."

She claimed that Scottish independence, by countering the influence of London on the economy, and as a third sovereign member of the British-Irish Council could be "a major shot in the arm" for other parts of the UK.

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