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Miliband sees 'ugly side' of poll

Ed Miliband claimed the campaign for independence has an "ugly side" during chaotic scenes as he was mobbed during a visit to Edinburgh.

The Labour leader took his fight to save the union to the St James Shopping Centre in the city but struggled to talk to voters as campaigners from both the Yes and No camps clashed.

Labour had attempted to keep details of the visit quiet to prevent it being hijacked but Mr Miliband found himself surrounded by media and campaigners as well as members of the public.

Chants of "Vote Yes" and "You're a liar" competed with chants of "Vote No" as shoppers were trampled and pushed aside.

Mr Miliband told the BBC: "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.

"What I've enjoyed about this campaign, including today when I get the chance, is meeting people who are genuinely undecided."

Mr Miliband spoke briefly to a handful of voters before the chaotic visit was brought to an end.

He told reporters: "If people vote no, it's 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."

Asked if he was making it up as he was going along, he said: "Not at all. We have set out very clearly throughout this campaign that there will be more powers for the Scottish Parliament, that this is the choice on offer by voting No against the big risks of voting Yes."

As the fraught campaign entered the final stages both sides made last ditch pitches to win over undecided voters.

Former prime minister Gordon Brown accused the SNP of "perpetrating a lie" about protecting the NHS with independence because Holyrood already has the power to keep the health service in public hands.

The SNP has argued that the health service north of the border is at risk due to health policies at Westminster, despite the area being devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

Speaking at a campaign event in Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, Mr Brown said: "I think people are going to come to the conclusion that the change they really want is to have a Scottish Parliament as part of the UK, not the change that the SNP want, which is the chaos of a separate state."

Mr Brown insisted the Labour Party would never allow the health service to be privatised in Scotland.

"It is the SNP who are perpetrating a lie about what the NHS can and cannot do in Scotland," he said.

The NHS has become a key battleground in the independence debate, with the No campaign seizing on private documents passed to the BBC that suggest the NHS in Scotland is facing a funding gap of up to £450 million and major changes will be needed to find savings.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: ''It's a discussion document written in the context of the status quo, not in the context of independence.

"The No campaign is jumping on this today, I'm not sure if they realise they are making our case for us because the centre of the case around the NHS is that yes, we've got policy control but we don't have control over our own resources, and as long as we remain at the mercy of Westminster cuts to our overall budget then it gets harder to protect the things that matter."

Better Together leader Alistair Darling, also speaking in Clydebank, said: "On the NHS, which Alex Salmond has been talking about an awful lot for the last four weeks, we find out that instead of his claim that somehow the health service is going to be saved if we vote for independence, we find out that all along he has known the Scottish health service, the NHS in Scotland, is facing the prospect of cuts of £450 million.

"And you know what, he wasn't going to tell us until Friday morning, it's that, the deceit, the wilful misleading of people in Scotland, that is what people will remember."

David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg vowed to enhance Holyrood's powers in the event of a No vote and insisted that the final say on funding for the NHS will be a matter for the Scottish Government "because of the continuation of the Barnett allocation for resources, and the powers of the Scottish Parliament to raise revenue".

Alex Salmond dismissed the Westminster pledge as a "last-minute desperate offer of nothing".

The First Minister told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland: "This so-called vow that has been in the Daily Record, I suspect it's been called a vow because the last time one of these leaders made a pledge and signed the pledge was the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg when he signed a pledge that he wouldn't have tuition fees and then promptly put them up to £9,000 for English students in England.

"It's a classic example of how this last-minute desperate offer of nothing is not going to dissuade people in Scotland from the huge opportunity of taking Scotland's future into Scotland's hands this coming Thursday."

Mr Brown was later asked what persuaded him that the rest of the UK would back the move for more powers for Scotland.

He told BBC 1's Scotland Decides programme presented by David Dimbleby: "I believe there is a movement of change taking place that will also encourage the regions to want more powers and I think those people in Westminster who are looking at that will see this as not just something specifically for Scotland."

But First Minister Alex Salmond, speaking on the same programme, said: "I heard Gordon Brown last week say it was near federalism, it's nothing like federalism.

"It's nothing like home rule, it's nothing like devo max -it's not even devo plus. It is actually an insult to the intelligence of the people of Scotland to rehash these proposals - a last gasp in the campaign and hope beyond hope that people think it is anything substantial - it is not."

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