David Cameron has called for a referendum on Scottish independence  and would favour a referendum "sooner rather than later".

Speaking on the Andrew Marr show the Prime Minister called for "decisiveness" on the proposed referendum and the potential of Scottish independence should be brought to the forefront of the political agenda.

However David Cameron did also make his feelings on Scotland leaving the United Kingdom very clear, Cameron said:

"I strongly support the United Kingdom, I think its one of the most successfully partnerships in the history of the world, I think it would be desperately sad if Scotland chose to leave the united Kingdom and I will do everything I can to  encourage  Scotland to stay in the united kingdom"

Alex Salmond's Scottish National Party (SNP) has previously pointed towards 2014 as the date for such a referendum. Hhowever it is believed that the UK Government will be looking towards bringing that date forward and holding a referendum in the next 18 months.

David Cameron also called for any referendum to be legally binding to ensure that the referendum is not perceived as a token gesture.

Political commentators have speculated that David Cameron's decision to push for an early referendum is due to recent polls which have suggested that the people of Scotland will vote against full independence (even through there has been an increase in support for independence) which, if translated into referendum votes, would mean Scotland will remain in the union for an indeterminable period of time.

Scottish Parliament, from Salisbury Crags by Lee Kindness

Scottish Parliament, from Salisbury Crags by Lee Kindness

Questions towards the extent of political, financial, and military independence have yet to be agreed in the format of the referendum and the PM did not specify the full nature of such a referendum on the Andrew Marr show. So it remains uncertain as to the full intent of the Prime Minister in stirring up the debate on what would ultimately result in a breakup of the United Kingdom.

But Scotland's Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon has denounced David Cameron's words saying that Scottish independence is a matter for the people of Scotland and the placing of conditions suggests motives from the Prime Minister to interfere with the democratic process in Scotland.

The parting words of former Cabinet Secretary,  Sir Gus O'Donnell in the Telegraph seem to have added gravitas to speculation on the state of the union. Sir Gus O'Donnell said:

"Over the next few years there will be enormous challenges, such as whether to keep our kingdom united,"

Image by Lee Kindness [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-2.5 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

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