Scotland

Scottish independence: Miliband criticises 'ugly' Yes tactics

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Media captionEd Miliband was caught in a media scrum during a visit to a shopping centre, explains the BBC Norman Smith

Ed Miliband has accused the pro-independence campaign of "ugly" tactics after clashing with protesters in Edinburgh.

The Labour party leader was branded an "absolute liar" by supporters of the Yes campaign during a visit to the St James Shopping Centre.

His walkabout was brought to a swift end after supporters of both camps flocked to the event.

Mr Miliband said debates "should be conducted in a civilised way".

He said: "I think we have seen in parts of this campaign an ugly side to it from the Yes campaign.

"I think debates should be conducted in a civilised way. I think that's very, very important, but I understand that passions run high."

Mr Miliband struggled to speak to members of the public at the centre amid a large gathering of Yes and No campaigners.

Image copyright Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Image caption Mr Miliband called for debates to be carried out "in a civilised way"
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ed Miliband was branded an "absolute liar" by pro-independence campaigners during a visit to Edinburgh

After having to cut his walkabout short, he said he had hoped to speak with undecided voters to pledge more powers to Scotland in the event of a No vote in the referendum.

He said: "If people vote No, it's a vote for change and more powers for a stronger Scotland, as well as NHS funding guarantees, and that's got to be weighed against the big risks of voting Yes.

"That has been the choice that people are facing in these last couple of days in this referendum campaign."

He added: "I think that the momentum is with the No campaign as people recognise that there is a clear offer of change by voting No."


By BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith

Image copyright REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Image caption The Labour leader was surrounded by supporters of both camps - and the press

There were chaotic scenes in Edinburgh city centre as Labour leader Ed Miliband attempted to do a walkabout amongst shoppers. Mr Miliband was surrounded by a melee of pro and anti independence supporters as he tried to walk through the St James' shopping centre in Edinburgh. Planned interviews with the media had to be abandoned amidst the scrum. Mr Miliband played down the scenes as he struggled to meet any voters. He eventually had to be escorted out of a rear exit of the shopping centre.


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