Northern Ireland FM insists Union Flag can defeat Yes vote

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The First Minister of Northern Ireland has insisted that the drive for Scottish independence can be defeated by the Union Flag.

Speaking at the meeting of the British-Irish Association Conference in Oxford on Saturday, Peter Robinson claimed that Scottish voters would reject independence in favour of, he hoped, “a further 100 years” of the Union.

Speaking yesterday, the Unionist leader said Scottish independence can be defeated “with a Saltire in one hand and a Union Flag in the other,”

Mr Robinson’s choice of words will prove controversial and are a clear paraphrasing of the phrase uttered by Irish republican Danny Morrison who, when speaking of the Irish struggle for independence, said it would be achieved with “a ballot box in one hand and an Armalite (rifle) in the other”.

The NI First Minister said: “I feel about this passionately and those of us who believe in the strength of the UK as a joined-up entity should make it our business to challenge the flawed logic which suggests that the peoples who inhabit its constituent parts would be better apart.”

He added: “If we get that right, then I hope it will be at least a further 100 years before we have another challenge to the integrity of the Kingdom,”