Tory PM David Cameron has launched a desperate bid to take control of the referendum on Scottish independence.
In a controversial move the Tory leader has indicated he will seek to wrest control of the ballot from the Scottish Parliament in order to try to force an early vote.
The SNP emerged victors in last year’s May election after pledging a vote in the second half of this term, which means any time between 2014 and 2016.
However Unionists, who were initially against holding an early ballot, have since U turned and insisted an early ballot is necessary in order to avoid ‘economic uncertainty’.
Mr Cameron was joined by Lib Dem ally Danny Alexander who complained that “dithering and delay” would cost jobs and growth. However figures released today show that Scotland’s businesses recorded month on month growth throughout 2011, performing better than their southern counterparts.
A spokesman for the First Minister responded to Cameron’s threat by pointing out that the Scottish Government had an overwhelming mandate given to them by the Scottish people and added that instead of sabre-rattling the UK coalition should instead concentrate on strengthening the Scotland bill to give the Scottish Parliament the powers it needs to protect the economy.
The move by the UK coalition follows reports this weekend that Labour peers were seeking to grant voters from outwith Scotland a say in the referendum.
Former Labour chief whip Baroness Taylor of Bolton and Lord Foulkes of Cumnock were joined by Tory peer and former lord advocate Lord Fraser of Carmyllie in an attempt at forcing the Scottish Parliament to allow Scots not on the Scottish voters register to be allowed to have a say in the ballot.