Scottish leader urges voters to put aside politics for independence

ABERDEEN, Scotland (Reuters) – Scotland’s leader Alex Salmond will today urge Scots to put aside party politics in the vote on independence, as he tries to win support from Labour rivals for his bid to leave the United Kingdom.

In an address to the Scottish National Party’s (SNP) last conference before a September 18 referendum, Salmond will stress that a vote for independence is not a vote for him or his party but a way to put Scotland’s future in its own hands.

His appeal comes after a narrowing in opinion polls that has for the first time made a vote for independence look a possibility, with both sides trying to persuade the up to 15 percent of voters who remain undecided.

Salmond will promise to set up an all-party “Team Scotland” group after any “Yes” vote, to negotiate the terms of independence by March 24, 2016.

His promise is an appeal to Scottish Labour voters, many of whom bitterly oppose the SNP, which won the first majority government of Scotland’s devolved parliament in a landslide victory in 2011.

“A Yes vote in September is not a vote for me, or for an SNP government in 2016 (at the next Scottish election),” Salmond is expected to tell 1,200 party faithful gathered in Aberdeen, the oil capital of Scotland, for the two-day conference.

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