U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron called on English, Welsh and Northern Irish people to campaign against Scottish independence.
Keeping the four nations of the U.K. together is in all their interests, Cameron said in a speech today at the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London. Scots will vote in a referendum Sept. 18 on whether to leave the union.
“Though only 4 million people can vote in this referendum, all 63 million of us are profoundly affected,” Cameron said. “This matters to all our futures and everyone in the U.K. can have a voice in this debate.”
The U.K.’s reputation in the world relies on its united “brand,” the prime minister said as he sought to intervene in the debate north of the border. The Conservatives’ unpopularity in Scotland has led Cameron to rein in his involvement in the campaign while nationalists use his government as an argument for independence.
Breaking up the U.K. would risk driving away investors attracted by the stability of the union, Cameron said.
“We are quite simply stronger as a bigger entity, an open economy of 63 million people with the oldest and most successful single market in the world with one of the oldest and most successful currencies in the world,” he said. “Last year we were the top destination for foreign direct investment in Europe. That is a stamp of approval on our stability -- and I would not want to jeopardize that.”
The prime minister also added his voice to those questioning the possibility of an independent Scotland keeping the pound. “It would be extremely difficult to make a currency union work,” he said.
Cameron made his last major speech on Scotland in Edinburgh in February 2012. In 2013 he visited the nation three times on official business as well as staying with Queen Elizabeth II at her castle in Balmoral and vacationed on Jura, an island off its the western coast.
Cameron, who was speaking in the Velodrome at the Olympic Park, invoked the spirit of the 2012 games to make the case for patriotism for the U.K. above that for its constituent countries.
“To everyone in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, everyone, like me, who cares about the United Kingdom, I want to say this -- you don’t have a vote, but you do have a voice,” Cameron said. “From us to the people of Scotland, let the message be this: We want you to stay.”
Cameron defended his decision to give the speech in London and said he will travel to Scotland before the referendum to make the case for the union.
“It’s very important that people in Scotland understand that the rest of the family see this as a very important family decision,” he said. “I intend to take the entire cabinet to Scotland to make these arguments too.”