ALISTAIR Carmichael's blunt warning to the UK Cabinet that the independence referendum was not a done deal and could be lost was well received by David Cameron and his colleagues, according to Coalition sources.

The Scottish Secretary said that despite positive polling figures there was still a long way to go before next September and events could turn against the pro-UK forces.

One insider said:"He told them it was all to play for, that the referendum was not in the bag and everyone had to work really hard to win it. The Prime Minister summed up the position and the message was well received by the Cabinet."

A source last week suggested Mr Carmichael would "put the fear of God" into his colleagues.

Despite public declarations that there is no complacency within the Coalition, senior UK Government figures have boasted privately that the referendum has been won already and the question now is how small the Yes vote will be.

The Secretary of State is incensed by such talk and feels that the polls, which have consistently given the No camp a healthy lead, will close at some point and that the battle ahead could become very bitter indeed as polling day nears and emotions run high.

Last week, Mr Carmichael said: "It's still a live debate and still quite possible that opinions can change. With the enormous resources the SNP have to deploy next year, they could still win this. Nobody should take the United Kingdom for granted."