UK

The Queen Wants Scots To 'Think Very Carefully' About Independence

14/09/2014 21:48 BST | Updated 15/09/2014 20:59 BST

The Queen's views on independence may have been revealed once more. She has reportedly said she hopes people will "think very carefully about the future" as the Scottish independence referendum campaign enters its final days.

The Queen made her comment after attending a Sunday morning church service at Crathie Kirk near her Balmoral estate.

She reportedly told a well-wisher in the crowd: "Well, I hope people will think very carefully about the future."

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The Queen speaking on Sunday at the Invictus Games closing ceremony

Campaigners on both sides have been out in force over the weekend as a series of polls show the vote on Thursday remains too close to call.

While several reveal a slim lead for the No camp, one suggests the pro-independence side has a lead of eight points - the reverse of another commissioned by Better Together.

After previous reports claimed the Queen was growing increasingly concerned about Scotland breaking away, Buckingham Palace issued a statement earlier this week which read: "The sovereign's constitutional impartiality is an established principle of our democracy and one which the Queen has demonstrated throughout her reign.

"As such the monarch is above politics and those in political office have a duty to ensure this remains the case.

"Any suggestion that the Queen would wish to influence the outcome of the current referendum campaign is categorically wrong. Her Majesty is simply of the view this is a matter for the people of Scotland."

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The Queen visiting Belfast in June

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond said the vote on Thursday is a "once in a generation" opportunity as he pledged not to bring back another referendum if Scots choose to remain in the UK.

Better Together leader Alistair Darling agreed the referendum would have to "decide this for a generation".

Prime Minister David Cameron is set to return to Scotland tomorrow for his final campaign visit before the vote.

He is expected to issue a stark warning to waverers that there could be "no going back" if they chose to "break up our family of nations".

Meanwhile former prime minister Gordon Brown has revealed that a House of Commons debate on increased powers for the Scottish Parliament has been set for October 16.

Speaking to the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Salmond said: "Harold Wilson famously (said) one vote is enough in a referendum but we're not aiming to win by one vote, we're aiming to achieve a substantial majority if we can."

He added: "If you remember that previous constitutional referendum in Scotland - there was one in 1979 and then the next one was 1997. That's what I mean by a political generation.

"In my opinion, and it is just my opinion, this is a once in a generation opportunity for Scotland."

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Salmon says this is a 'once in a generation opportunity'

Asked if he would pledge not to bring back another referendum if the Yes campaign does not win on Thursday, he said: "That's my view. My view is this is a once in a generation, perhaps even a once in a lifetime, opportunity for Scotland."

Salmond said work was already under way to assemble a team of specialists to negotiate terms with the rest of the UK in the event of a vote for independence.

He said: "The first and urgent business is to bring Scotland together, because on Friday after a Yes vote there will cease to be a Yes campaign and a No campaign, there will be a Team Scotland."

Salmond said he would be happy to include political opponents in the campaign and praised Darling as a "first-rate politician".

Speaking on the same programme, Darling said: "The one point that I do agree with Alex Salmond is that I think on Thursday we've got to decide this for a generation. I don't know of anybody who actually wants to go through another two-and-a-half year referendum."

The Labour former chancellor said he personally had felt "menaced" in the campaign and had been shouted down simply for appearing at an event.

He said: "I've been involved in political campaigning for about 35 years and I've never seen anything like this before.

"I've said before this is going to go down to the wire but I think we will win because I don't think Scotland is going to get bullied into accepting something that it doesn't want."

Darling insisted there would be a deal between the pro-union parties on new powers for the Scottish Parliament in the event of a No vote because the differences between their positions were "very small".

He said: "It's a clear choice now. We can have faster, safer and better change, reform, so that we can strengthen the health service, we can safeguard jobs, but you don't have the risks that come with independence - to jobs, to the funding of pensions and the health service, the uncertainty about currency."

Appearing side by side on the sofa with Salmond, he insisted the two men had a "high regard" for each other and "would always get on".

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Speaking at a Better Together event in Edinburgh, Labour former defence secretary Lord Reid urged undecided voters to stay away from the polls if they genuinely do not know how to vote, rather than use their ballot as a "protest vote".

Lord Reid said: "If you don't know, genuinely, don't vote. There are a thousand ways to make a protest vote. Gambling with the future of your country and future generations is not the most sensible one of those to choose."

Better Together sources later said that Lord Reid "misspoke" and meant to say "if you don't know, vote No".

Meanwhile Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon rallied supporters at a Women for Independence event in Glasgow.

She said: "In just over three days' time we have the biggest opportunity any of us will ever have to improve the lives of our families and our communities.

"Over the last 18 months Scotland has grown in confidence.

"In the last few days of this campaign opponents of independence will try to obscure that wealth, confidence and opportunity with the return of Project Fear.

"But the outcome of this referendum won't be determined by fear, it will be determined by hope. It won't be determined by Westminster politicians, by banks or by businesses, it will be determined by all of us, the people of Scotland.

"And with the knowledge and confidence across Scotland that we can be independent, over the next three days let's do this and ensure that we will become independent."