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‘A remarkable shift in referendum voting’

Scottish Referendum Is ‘Too Close To Call’

Sky News

  • Scottish Referendum Is 'Too Close To Call'

The Scottish referendum outcome is “too close to call” as both sides enter the final days of the vote campaign, a research agency has said.The TNS poll which puts the Yes and No campaigns equal on 41% came as the leaders of the three main pro-union parties put on a united front to pledge new powers for the Scottish parliament if it votes to stay in the UK on September 18.The measures, which will be contained in a new “home rule bill”, have yet to be detailed in full but the leaders of Scotland‘s Conservative, Labourand Lib Dem parties said they had agreed there would be more tax-raising powers for Holyrood.It follows Gordon Brown’s attempt to wrest back the initiative for the No campaign on Monday saying he was firing the “starting gun” for the introduction of far-reaching devolutionary changes.

The former prime minister said work on the transfer of power would begin on the day after the vote, should Scotland vote to remain in the union.

The Scottish political leaders on Tuesday endorsed his timetable but would not be drawn on precisely what new powers had been agreed by the three parties.

Johann Lamont, the leader of the Scottish Labour party, said: “It is possible to vote no on September 18, the patriotic choice, but also to say that you are voting for change – more powers for the Scottish parliament.”

She added: “We all have our political arguments, that’s what politics is like, but where we can agree we do agree and what we’ve said here is the importance of this debate to the people of Scotland is to give them certainty that there will be more powers.

“I will fight with every fibre of my being to ensure that we get a Labour government but, whatever happens, we know there will be more powers for the Scottish Parliament.

Mr Brown is well aware that Labour supporters are increasingly anxious as the polls suggest significant numbers are being persuaded by the Yes campaign.

His proposal was welcomed by the Prime Minister but David Cameron was effectively bounced into endorsing Mr Brown’s initiative, knowing that he has the ability to energise an electorate that has been resistant to his overtures.

The Better Together campaign has denied the move amounts to panic measures.

Labour leader Ed Miliband raised a Saltire over Liverpool on Tuesday and is encouraging other councils to do the same to send the message that England wants Scotland to stay in the union.

TNS said the Yes and No campaigns were neck and neck with 41% ahead of the vote on September 18.

Tom Costley, head of TNS Scotland, said: “This poll reveals a remarkable shift in voting intentions but the signs were evident in our last couple of polls which indicated a narrowing of the No lead, especially amongst those who told us that they were certain to vote.

“It is too close to call and both sides will now be energised to make the most of the last few days of the campaign and try and persuade the undecided voters of the merits of their respective campaigns.”

Some 600,000 people could still have to make up their minds in the referendum, with leaders attempting to win over undecided voters.

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond said pro-independence campaigners have “10 days of hard work” to win the referendum.

The TNS poll shows backing for the Yes campaign is up from 38% last month, while support for maintaining the union has dropped from 46%.

The momentum is for now with Yes, but were that to change the pressure would suddenly become just as strong on the other side.

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