Stay with us: Cameron makes 'desperate' plea to Scotland
British Prime Minister David Cameron has said that he "desperately" wants Scotland to remain in the UK, as he warned that independence is a "leap in the dark" that will punish future generations.
In his most significant intervention in the campaign to keep Scotland in the Union, the UK prime minister directly appealed to voters north of the border and said that nobody in the UK wanted "this family of nations to be ripped apart".
He paid an emotional tribute to the achievements over the centuries of the "special alchemy" of the United Kingdom which can "smash expectations".
"The United Kingdom is a precious and special country," Mr Cameron said.
"That is what is at stake - so let no one in Scotland be in any doubt: We desperately want you to stay; we do not want this family of nations to be ripped apart."
Mr Cameron's appeal came as the world's biggest banks and financial experts warned of disastrous economic consequences for the UK if Scotland votes for independence.
Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Societe Generale, JP Morgan, RBC Capital Markets and Credit Suisse all made dire predictions about the country's finances as they warned clients of the increased risk of investing in Britain in the event of a Yes vote.
The decision by six global financial institutions to raise concerns over the impact of Scottish independence has stoked fears that a Yes vote could reverse the economic recovery.
Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, said that an independent Scotland would not be able to keep the pound because it would be "incompatible with sovereignty".
All three main Westminster party leaders will today travel to Scotland in a last-ditch gamble to save the union after polls showed that Alex Salmond's Yes campaign is on course for victory.
Meanwhile, Mr Salmond, the Scottish First Minister, indicated that Queen Elizabeth was at ease with the prospect of Scottish independence after she faced calls from MPs to speak out ahead of the referendum.
The main Westminster parties united behind plans for a "home rule" Bill to give the Scottish government more powers in the event of a No vote.
Mr Salmond was reported to have said, "What are they going to do - invade?" when asked about his threat to default on Scotland's share of the national debt.
In a newspaper article, Mr Cameron said that it is only by remaining a united country that "we can keep on building a better future for our children". Celebrating the UK and the shared history of its individual nations, he said: "This is the group of small islands in the North Atlantic that have punched above our weight for centuries - and we've done so together.
"As individuals and as nations, we have done extraordinary things. This is the special alchemy of the UK - you mix together Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland and together we smash expectations."
Mr Cameron warned voters in Scotland that there "will be no second chances" if they vote for independence.
Mr Cameron, Labour leader Ed Miliband and the Liberal Democrats' Nick Clegg have cancelled today's session of Prime Minister's Questions and instead pledged to visit Scotland to "listen and talk to voters".
Mr Salmond claimed that the three party leaders were making the biggest "blunder" yet of the No campaign by making a last-minute trip to Scotland. (©Daily Telegraph, London)