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Independence vote 'in autumn 2014'

First Minister Alex Salmond has said the independence referendum "will be autumn 2014" and said October 18 is "a possible date".

He all but ruled out August and September, leaving "only a relatively few number of dates that would be suitable".

The first edition of the Scottish Sun Sunday claimed to name the date of the independence referendum as October 18 2014.

Speaking on a Clyde 2 radio phone-in, Mr Salmond said: "It is a possible date but of course because we said it will be autumn 2014 and we also said that we're considering a Saturday, as opposed to a Thursday, to increase turnout.

"But we are only a month into a three-month consultation. I think at the last check there were 2,700 responses already, so we are heading perhaps towards up to 10,000 responses to the consultation.

"Once all of these are analysed we will announce what the date will be, and not before then."

He added: "There are arguments for a Saturday, and we put these in our consultation paper.

"Basically, there is some evidence that it increases turnout, and obviously in something as important as a referendum on the future of Scotland you want to hold it on a day where the maximum number of people are able to vote.

"The suggestion is that it increases turnout by about 4 to 5%. So on that basis Saturday has to be a strong runner, but we will wait to see what the consultation says."

He continued: "Actually, if you examine the autumn of 2014 and you accept that we want to not do it during the Commonwealth Games, for example, in August, and we don't want to do it in the Ryder Cup in September, there's only a relatively few number of dates that would be suitable."

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