The Scottish National Party (SNP) has unveiled its “unprecedented” campaign to win independence from Britain.
Campaign chief Angus Robertson told the party’s conference in Inverness, north Scotland, the party would “work as hard as possible” to ensure victory in a forthcoming referendum.
Robertson promised to convince voters from all political backgrounds that a ‘yes’ vote in the referendum, due near the end of the five-year parliament, would be the best move for Scotland.
Opposition MPs have urged the SNP to hold the vote now but the majority party, who swept to power in May’s election, vowed to stick to their manifesto pledge of a vote near the end of parliament in 2016.
“Today, we are announcing that the independence referendum campaign is starting,” Robertson said.
“We will work as hard as possible in an unprecedented national campaign to secure the majority ‘yes’ vote for a sovereign independent Scotland.”
Party leader Alex Salmond said that: “In my heart, in my head, I think Scotland will become an independent country within the European community,” during an interview on Sunday’s BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.
Salmond confirmed on Saturday that the referendum would ask two questions.
Firstly, citizens will vote on “a straight yes-no question (on) independence” and secondly on “a fiscal autonomy option”.
The SNP leader also vowed to increase the powers of the Scottish parliament, which already decides on matters such as education, health, the environment and justice.
Key areas including foreign affairs and defence are still controlled by the British government in London.