Maria Miller has warned Scotland that a vote for independence would be a vote to "leave" the BBC. Speaking at the Oxford Media Convention, the Culture Secretary said: "The vote is about whether Scotland wants to remain as part of the UK. If they don't want to do that, it's a vote to leave the institutions of the UK and the BBC is one of them."
However, the broadside, the latest in a series of warnings by the government against breaking up the Union, is unlikely to deter Alex Salmond, who has previously stated that an independent Scotland would have its own public service broadcaster.
Speaking in 2012, Salmond said: ''We'd also establish a national public service broadcaster based on the existing staff and assets of BBC Scotland," adding that the new broadcaster would have “access” to shows made outside Scotland, including the most popular, such as the soaps.
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A spokesman for Fiona Hyslop, the Scottish government's Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, said: "This latest offering from Project Fear shows that the Tories have learned nothing from the backlash after George Osborne's arrogant 'sermon on the pound'.
"This is the same party who made the ludicrous threat that it wouldn't be possible to watch Doctor Who in an independent Scotland - just as the latest episode was airing in over 80 countries around the world, from Angola and Australia to Uruguay and Venezuela.
"The fact is, Scottish licence fee payers have contributed to the BBC, and we would be entitled to a reasonable share of that asset after independence. The more Westminster Tories attempt to bully and threaten Scotland, the more they remind us how they really view Scotland in the UK - and it is increasingly clear they do not view it as a partnership of equals."