24 June 2012
Last updated at 23:45 GMT
Alistair Darling said Scotland could have a strong parliament and remain secure as part of the UK
Former UK chancellor Alistair Darling is launching the campaign to keep the Union, warning that if Scotland leaves Britain, there is “no way back”.
He will compare independence to buying “a one-way ticket to send our children to a deeply uncertain destination”.
Mr Darling will argue Scotland can have the “best of both worlds”, with a strong parliament at Holyrood and a secure place in the United Kingdom.
The Scottish government is planning an independence referendum in autumn 2014.
The SNP-led campaign for independence – Yes Scotland – got under way last month.
Launching the cross-party Better Together campaign in Edinburgh – which involves Labour, the Lib Dems and the Conservatives – Mr Darling will say that Scotland, through family, economic and cultural friendship, is stronger in the UK.
“We’re positive about being a proud nation within a larger state and the far wider range of opportunities for our people that this creates,” the Edinburgh South West Labour MP said.
“We’re positive about all of the identities we share – Scottish, British, European, citizens of the world – and don’t see the need to abandon any of them.
“We are part of a social union, underpinned by an economic and political union – all parts mesh together.
“Friends, neighbours, families – across borders – share ties that bind us together. What does this mean for us? It means that after centuries of common endeavour we should value those ties that bind us together and celebrate the diversity that exists around us.”
The Better Together launch will come as half-a-million leaflets are handed out at train stations, setting out the case for keeping Scotland in the UK, while a new website is going live on Monday.
The Better Together campaign is launching a series of leaflets making the case for keeping Scotland in the union.
Echoing the message of the campaign’s advertising campaign, Mr Darling said: “The truth is we can have the best of both worlds; a strong Scottish Parliament and a key role in a strong and secure United Kingdom.
“The truth is Scotland‘s future, our future and our families’ future will be economically, politically and socially stronger as a partner in the United Kingdom.
“The truth is that this coming together of family, friends, ideas, institutions and identities is a strength, not a weakness. It is an ideal worth celebrating.”
Mr Darling added: “The choice we make will be irrevocable – if we decide to leave the United Kingdom there is no way back.”
The campaign launch came the day after Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander warned homeowners could face £1bn of extra mortgage costs in an independent Scotland.
The Scottish government described the claims as “economic illiteracy”.