Scottish independence will be based on “inter-dependence” with the rest of the UK and Europe, according to First Minister Alex Salmond.
Independence presents “potential difficulties” for the north of England, particularly if the economies diverge and draw investment away from the area, but also opportunities for future cooperation, Mr Salmond told an audience in the Scottish Borders.
He delivered a speech in Hawick, 15 miles from the border, on the latest leg of his tour of public meetings.
Prime Minister David Cameron was accused of “a lack of leadership” by bowing to UKIP and Tory backbenchers to hold an in/out referendum on the European Union (EU) which Mr Salmond believes he does not want.
He said: “With independence we could do so much more, because establishing strong growth here in Scotland would change the centre of economic gravity and prosperity here in these islands, and change it for the better.”
Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore accused Mr Salmond of lacking the “courage of his convictions”, adding: “The First Minister is tying himself in knots saying we will keep all things British one minute by maintaining five unions and then talks about complete separation the next.”