By a Newsnet reporter
Anti-independence parties are being forced to address their lack of a cohesive approach to more powers for Scotland due to increased support for Yes, the SNP has said.
Ahead of the expected publication of a so-called “statement of intent” from the No campaign party leaders – the SNP said that they are being forced into this agenda as the ground shifts beneath them with Yes rising in the polls.
Ahead of the statement, a pro-Union source told the Herald: “There is not going to be a line-by-line agreement [from the three parties] and there should not be a line-by-line agreement. Because there are areas where we do disagree.
“The purpose of this is not to tell people this is exactly what you are going to get. That would be inappropriate. New powers have always been brought about by consensus. Not just among political parties but in consultation with civic society too.”
The No camp’s joint statement comes in the aftermath of three polls in the space of a week confirming a sharp increase in support for independence – and falling support for No.
This weekend saw two polls both showing increased support for Yes. The surveys from Panelbase and ICM followed a similar survey carried out by Survation.
The Panelbase survey put the gap between Yes and No at just 4 points, around half that of the last poll by the company.
Commenting, SNP MSP Linda Fabiani said:
“The No campaign has been forced onto the agenda of more powers as the ground shifts beneath them -with a sharp rise in support for Yes in the polls. Talk of more powers is galvanising the Yes vote.
“The problem for the anti-independence parties is that nothing they can offer can trump the full economic, social and other key powers guaranteed by a Yes vote – the offerings from each of the three Westminster parties fall far short of what Scotland needs.
“It’s clear that the No campaign has been forced into this shift as the polls continue to tighten – only a few months ago Ruth Davidson was explicitly ruling out such a joint statement.”
The Better Together parties have faced calls from their Yes Scotland rivals to jointly commit to a package of more powers before the referendum on September 18th. However Labour, the Conservatives and Lib Dems have resisted calls for a united approach, saying they will present their individual offers to the electorate in a UK general election to take place after the referendum.
Last week the UK coalition announced it is to send a pro-Union booklet to every household in Scotland at a cost of £720,000. The move was seized on by the SNP after it emerged that the publication contained no mention of any additional powers if Scots vote No.
Ms Fabiani added: “The ground is shifting beneath the No campaign – and they are now having to play catch up with public opinion as support for independence continues to grow.
“The reason for the increase in support for independence is clear. A Yes vote delivers more than an ‘intention’ of some more powers – it means that all the powers we need to make Scotland a fairer, more prosperous country are in Scotland’s hands.”