Duke speaks out to back Union

Queen's Baton Relay at Alnwick'The Duke and Duchess of Northumberland and the baton .
Queen's Baton Relay at Alnwick'The Duke and Duchess of Northumberland and the baton .

The Duke of Northumberland – one of the county’s leading landowners and businessmen – has spoken out in support of the Union.

It comes a fortnight before Scotland goes to the polls to vote on leaving the United Kingdom and becoming an independent country.

The Duke, who owns land on both sides of the border, was sharing his views as part of a BBC Look North debate, Scotland and Us, which was aired at 10.35pm on Wednesday night.

“I personally cross the border practically every day from one part of the estate to another and I see no difference between somebody living on one side to the other,” he said.

“Any form of boundary creates difficulties whether it’s financial – I mean, if there are different currencies between the two countries that immediately creates a problem.

“I think it’s worked pretty well for a very long time. If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.”

The referendum takes place on Thursday, September 18, when British, European Union and Commonwealth citizens resident in Scotland will be able to vote on the question, Should Scotland be an independent country?

The Scottish Government passed legislation to reduce the voting age for the referendum from 18 to 16, as it is Scottish National Party (SNP) policy to reduce the voting age for all elections in Scotland.

A devolved Scottish Parliament came into being in the late 1990s when it was established by The Scotland Act 1998 and first elected in May 1999.

A commitment to hold a referendum was part of the SNP’s election manifesto when it contested the 2007 Scottish Parliament election, after which it became the largest party in Scotland,

The party repeated its commitment when it published its 2011 Scottish election manifesto and in January 2012, the UK Government offered to legislate to provide the Scottish Parliament with the powers to hold a referendum, eventually leading to the Edinburgh Agreement in October 2012.

The Scottish Independence Referendum (Franchise) Act 2013 was passed by the Scottish Parliament in June last year and received Royal Assent six weeks later.