Alex Salmond To Host Cabinet Q And A

First Minister Alex Salmond says the wind is firmly in the sails of the independence campaign as his senior team prepares for the latest public discussion on their plans for Scotland.

The SNP leader will be in Bathgate, West Lothian, for a cabinet meeting followed by a question-and-answer session on Scotland's Future, the formal White Paper on independence, or any other subject. 

Today's visit follows an opinion poll suggesting 46% of people may back independence in the referendum on September 18. The Better Together campaign to keep Scotland in the UK said Mr Salmond's reaction to the poll is ``hysterical''. 

Mr Salmond said: ``The momentum is now firmly with the Yes campaign, as underlined by the most recent poll showing significant movement toward a Yes vote. 

``That is a result of the positive message we are taking to communities across the country, but it is also a direct consequence of the No campaign's scare stories unravelling one by one as they become ever more absurd. 

``Only a few days ago William Hague was the latest UK Cabinet member to come to Scotland to lecture Scots on how they should run their affairs, but he was forced to admit that he and the Tories had been wrong on devolution in the 1990s - he was wrong on devolution then and he is wrong on independence now. 

``Using the full economic and social policy powers guaranteed by independence, we can use Scotland's vast human and natural resources to build a fairer and more prosperous society. 

``That includes helping more people into work, particularly women, through a transformational increase in childcare provision. 

``The wind is now firmly in the sails of the independence campaign, with the No campaign and the ridiculous Project Fear scare stories in retreat. 

``We will now look to build on this momentum by energising communities all across Scotland to deliver a Yes vote in September.'' 

A Better Together spokesman said: ``What a hysterical over-reaction to one single poll. 

``If the next poll that is published doesn't back up this errant nonsense, can we look forward to a grovelling admittance from Salmond that his campaign - which has sacked its entire management team - is floundering on the rocks?'' 

The public discussion begins at noon in the Regal Community Theatre in Bathgate.