SNP launches independence campaign
Scottish National Party leaders are building a "war chest" to help fight their "biggest ever campaign" in the run up to an independence referendum.
Party bosses formally launched that campaign today, with this being funded by a bequest of almost £1 million from Scotland's national poet Edwin Morgan.
Nationalists are also launching their "biggest donation drive ever" with party members being urged to help build up a "fighting fund" for the independence campaign.
SNP campaign director Angus Robertson told activists at the party's annual conference in Inverness: "Our independence campaign starts now. It's starting. The starting gun is being fired."
He added that the party's campaign had been "generously supported" by Edwin Morgan, the former Makar, who left the party £918,000 in his will. That money has been "ring-fenced" for the SNP's referendum campaign.
While no date has been set for the vote on Scotland's constitutional future, Nationalist leaders have pledged it will take place in the second half of Holyrood's five year parliamentary term.
Speaking on the final day of the conference, Mr Robertson said the campaign for independence would be their "biggest ever challenge" but that it was also the "biggest opportunity for modern Scotland".
The referendum follows May's landslide victory for the SNP in the Scottish Parliament elections. Mr Robertson said since then the party had been working hard behind the scenes to prepare for the independence poll.
And he added: "We will work as hard as possible in an unprecedented national campaign to secure the majority 'yes' vote or a sovereign independent Scotland."
The SNP Westminster leader pledged the campaign would be a "positive one" which would stress the importance of Scotland's "links with our neighbours and friends".