Euro Lottery win pair donate £1m to SNP independence bid

Chris and Colin Weir Euro Lottery winners Chris and Colin Weir celebrated their good news in July

Europe's biggest Lottery winners have given £1m to the Scottish National Party's campaign for independence.

The gift, from the £161m winnings of Chris and Colin Weir, from Largs in Ayrshire is the largest donation in the SNP's 77-year history.

The SNP is to hold an independence referendum in the second half of the current Scottish Parliament.

The party now has a campaign fighting fund of almost £2m, following a bequest from Scotland's former national poet.

Former makar Edwin Morgan, who died last year at the age of 90, left £918,000 to the SNP.

Mr Weir, a former candidate for the SNP, said: "We have been supporters of the SNP for a long time, but this is about more than party politics.

"Every society, every country should have the right and the opportunity to determine its own path. That's something I've believed in strongly for a long time.

"We want to give the people of Scotland a fair chance in the referendum campaign that's why we are supporting the SNP now and into the independence referendum."

Mr Weir added: "The only people with the right to decide Scotland's future are the people of Scotland themselves and we want to support the SNP and the referendum campaign in helping Scotland make that decision fairly."

The couple have already used some of their winnings to support good causes, including the Waverley Paddle Steamer and a local elderly care home.

SNP leader and Scottish first minister Alex Salmond welcomed the donation, adding: "The SNP relies on the donations of our ordinary members and every donation large and small goes to backing the party and making the case for independence."

Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission watchdog has reiterated its offer to get involved in the referendum, saying it was ready to offer advice "regardless of whether we have a role in a Scottish independence referendum".

The body previously oversaw referenda on new powers for the Welsh Assembly and changes to the way MPs were elected.

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