The momentum from the final television clash between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling will carry the pro-independence campaign to victory in next month’s referendum, Scotland’s First Minister has claimed.
Mr Salmond said the “Yes campaign are going to have our tails up and our tails will be up for the next three weeks as we carry this campaign to victory”.
But Mr Darling, leader of the pro-UK Better Together campaign, said on Tuesday the independence referendum debate will be a “fight right down to the wire”.
He insisted his campaign had the momentum coming out of Monday night’s BBC debate – the second and final TV clash between the two politicians.
A snap poll afterwards by ICM for the Guardian newspaper showed 71 per cent of people questioned thought Mr Salmond won the debate, compared with 29 per cent for Mr Darling.
But the former chancellor insisted: “If you look at all the evidence, all the polls that have been published for the last few months, they consistently show us with a lead, most of them a double-digit lead.”
Mr Darling, who was visiting a company in Inchinnan, Renfrewshire, said that while television debates were part of the democratic process, the “big debate that actually matters is in people’s sitting rooms and people’s kitchens, that’s where the decision is going to be made”.
Mr Salmond, who was visiting the Ferguson shipyard in Port Glasgow, Inverclyde, said too that “TV debates aren’t the be-all and end-all”.
The First Minister added: “What matters is the impact on our ground campaign, which is our not-so-secret weapon. We’re fighting the most energising, electrifying, extraordinary campaign in Scottish political history.”
A Downing Street spokesman said: “Following last night’s debate, the Prime Minister concluded that the First Minister still has no answers on currency or how to fund public services while relying on volatile and declining oil revenues.
“It remains the Government’s position that Scotland can enjoy the best of both worlds - the security of being part of something bigger, without the risk and uncertainty of separation.”