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Scotland's Salmond talks independence, but plays politics

By Belinda Goldsmith EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Scotland's nationalist leader Alex Salmond has more than independence on his mind. The combative politician has come to embody self-rule, always sporting a lapel pin or tie with Scotland's white-and-blue crossed Saltire flag. Cartoonists depict him in tartan, his face painted with the flag.

Ex-British PM Brown favors more powers for Scotland, not independence

By Belinda Goldsmith LONDON (Reuters) - Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown emerged from the shadows on Monday to argue for more powers for Scotland rather than independence, stepping up the opposition Labour party's fight to prevent a Scottish breakaway from the United Kingdom. Brown, a Scot who has kept a low profile since losing the 2010 general election, said he intended to play a major role to stop Britain coming apart at the September 18 Scottish referendum by giving voters an alternative to independence.

Companies gear up for vote on Scottish independence

Six months before Scotland votes in a referendum on whether to become independent from the rest of Britain, major companies are going public on their plans whatever the outcome. Firms ranging from Royal Bank of Scotland to British Airways and Royal Dutch Shell are stating their positions ahead of Scotland voting on whether to end its 300-year-old union with England. British PM David Cameron's Conservatives, their coalition partners the Liberal Democrats and the opposition Labour party have joined forces to campaign for a "no" vote.

British PM followed 'normal process' over Nepali nanny

Downing Street insisted Prime Minister David Cameron had followed "proper procedures" after it emerged Friday that his Nepali nanny had been granted British citizenship. His office said neither Cameron nor his wife Samantha had written letters in support of her application. Cameron faced questions about his use of a foreign nanny after his immigration minister deplored the effects of Britain's "wealthy metropolitan elite" benefiting from cheap migrant workers.

Britain says Scotland split would put Scottish pensions at risk

By William James LONDON (Reuters) - Scottish pensions would be put in danger if voters decide to split from Britain this year, a senior British minister will say on Friday in the government's latest attempt to persuade Scots to reject independence. Danny Alexander, second-in-command at the finance ministry, will say pensions held with Scottish firms would not be protected by British state guarantees in the event of independence and that a new Scottish-only backstop for savers would be costly and less secure.

Shell CEO calls on Scots to stay in UK

The chief executive of Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell on Wednesday dealt a blow to the campaign for Scottish independence by saying he would like it to remain part of the UK. Speaking at the company's annual reception in London, Ben van Beurden explained that a vote for independence in the September referendum would introduce greater uncertainty into the North Sea oil industry, a crucial source of income for Scotland and Shell. For similar reasons, he also said that he wanted Britons to vote to stay in the European Union during a possible referendum in 2017.

Wales says Scottish independence battle will benefit UK

By Belinda Goldsmith CARDIFF (Reuters) - Scotland's fight for independence is unlikely to succeed but the battle will benefit the entire United Kingdom by leading to a rebalancing of powers, the leader of Wales, Carwyn Jones, said on Wednesday. Jones, first minister of the Welsh Assembly, opposes Scotland's bid to leave the United Kingdom, arguing it is risky and that the union of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that dates back 307 years is stronger together.

UK deputy PM to clash with anti-EU rival in public debates

Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said Wednesday he and the head of the country's most anti-EU party had set dates for two eagerly awaited face-to-face debates ahead of the forthcoming European Parliament elections. Clegg, leader of the Europhile Liberal Democrats, will face Nigel Farage of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), which wants to pull Britain out of the European Union. They will square up on London-based LBC radio on March 26, and again on BBC television on April 2.

Scottish leader calls on all Britons to back independence

By Belinda Goldsmith LONDON (Reuters) - Scottish leader Alex Salmond called on all Britons on Tuesday to back his campaign for an independent Scotland to help create a northern economic counterweight to stop London from sucking the life out of the rest of the country. In his first speech in London this year, Salmond said life in the United Kingdom had become increasingly unbalanced with regional centers suffering as London dominated the economic landscape and rising numbers of people relying on food handouts.

Independent Scotland would act as 'Northern Light' to rest of UK

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond on Tuesday warned Britain's finance minister over his threat to exclude an independent Scotland from the sterling zone, saying that self-rule would help reduce inequality across the UK. The Scottish National Party leader called George Osborne's warning a "monumental error" at a lecture hosted by the New Statesman magazine in London. "In the last three weeks people in Scotland have seen an array of approaches from the UK government -- what they apparently call their Dambusters strategy," he said.
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