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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 July 2006, 10:11 GMT 11:11 UK
Salmond hails independence poll
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Mr Salmond said more voters were attracted to independence
The drive towards independence is gathering momentum in England as well as Scotland, it has been claimed.

SNP leader Alex Salmond has welcomed a poll suggesting almost one in three people in England favour independence.

The ICM poll for the Sunday Mail newspaper indicated 31% support in England to govern its own affairs.

The SNP leader said it would be "much better" to have two self-governing nations who were friendly neighbours rather than "surly lodgers".

Almost 900 English voters were questioned for the Sunday Mail poll.

Alex Salmond
I actually welcome the fact we see a rising sense of Englishness and that the St George's Cross is flown
Alex Salmond
SNP leader

It found 31% of English voters would back independence, compared with 60% who endorsed the status quo. The remaining 9% were undecided.

The telephone research was carried out by ICM between last Tuesday and Thursday.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland's Sunday Live programme, Mr Salmond said the initiative for independence lay with Scotland.

He said the latest opinion poll north of the border suggested 55% of people were in favour of independence.

"I actually welcome the fact we see a rising sense of Englishness and that the St George's Cross is flown," Mr Salmond said.

'Time for a change'

"That seems to be a positive assertion of national identity which has been submerged for a great number of years."

The SNP leader said he would not sit back and wait for the government to make a mess of things, but would instead bring forward ideas to capture the voters' imagination.

"I believe the election next May is going to be about changing Scotland and changing it for the better," he said.

"What's happening to Labour just now is that it's not just the incompetence we see in the Scottish Executive, not just the sleaze and corruption we see in Westminster.

"It's the underlying feeling that people think they've been in power too long in London and Edinburgh, and that it's time for a change."

Mr Salmond said a Nationalist government would hold a referendum on independence within the four-year term of the parliament, although he would not specify a date.




SEE ALSO
Blair dismisses voting shake-up
12 Jul 06 |  Scotland
English voters 'oppose Scots PM'
14 May 06 |  Scotland
SNP's independence referendum bid
08 Apr 06 |  Scotland

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