The chief executive of Yes Scotland has claimed Prime Minister David Cameron will have no choice but to debate First Minister Alex Salmond next year.
Blair Jenkins was speaking as he took part in a first public debate between himself and his counterpart from Better Together, campaign director Blair McDougall, since the two cross-party campaigns launched.
The event took place in Dundee University’s Dalhousie Building as part of the Five Million Questions series of events exploring the drive for independence.
BBC Scotland political editor Brian Taylor chaired the debate, which took place before an audience of 400 people and explored three main topics the economy, Europe and debates between the Yes and No camps.
Asked if Prime Minister David Cameron’s refusal to take part in a televised debate undermined the Better Together campaign, Mr Jenkins said he believes Mr Cameron will have little choice but to change his mind.
He said: “My view is I think this (Cameron’s position) might change as it gets nearer to the Prime Minister presiding over the break-up of the United Kingdom.
“He will not think it will be wise to have gone through the process without debating the First Minister.”
Mr McDougall said calls for a debate between the two leaders from the Yes camp were hypocritical when Mr Salmond has said the decision on Scotland’s future is for the Scottish people to make.
However, he provoked jeers and a small smattering of applause when he added: “There is a reason why Alex Salmond is so desperate to debate Cameron he wants it to be a fight between him and an Englishman.”
The debate began with both men giving prepared statements before taking questions submitted by the audience.
Mr McDougall said he is proud to represent a campaign where “compassion does not stop at the border” while Mr Jenkins claimed the arguments for independence rested on three issues democracy, prosperity and fairness.
Asked if Scots would enjoy a better standard of living if the country became independent, Mr Jenkins said: “The cost of staying in the UK is too high.
“It is the cost of growing inequality, spending millions of pounds on weapons of mass destruction on the Clyde and growing child and fuel poverty.”
Mr McDougall said the claim Scotland would spend more on social welfare post-independence have not been borne out by tax plans put forward by the Scottish Government.
“The only tax policy we have so far is corporation tax will be cut three per cent lower than the UK’s level. The only taxation policy being offered is Reaganomics,” he said.
However, he prompted groans from a large proportion of the audience when discussion turned to a possible Sterling currency zone.
Mr Jenkins said a shared currency would suit the remainder of the UK as much as Scotland, which is why it has not been ruled out by those in favour of the union.
Mr McDougall said was because: “The UK nations are not going to fall into the trap of acting against Scotland.”
Although the debate was conducted in good humour, the argument became more heated when Mr Jenkins described the Better Together campaign as the “distribution centre” for a Whitehall “fear factory.”
Mr McDougall said it was “offensive” to claim those arguing against independence are taking orders from England.
Instead, he said they were motivated by their belief Scotland is better as part of the United Kingdom.