Prime Minister David Cameron has again been forced to deny that he would have to stand down if Scotland votes for independence in September.
The Conservative leader insisted he would not quit if there was a “yes” vote in the historic referendum, because it was “not my name” on the ballot paper.
Several commentators have suggested that Scottish independence and the break-up of Britain would be such a big blow to Mr Cameron’s global reputation that he would have no choice but to leave 10 Downing Street.
The prime minister’s spokesman and Mr Cameron have both denied that it would be a resignation issue, but he has continued to be asked the question.
Mr Cameron, who spent two days north of the border last week, dismissed the idea, saying: “No and I think it is very important people understand that because it is not my name or anyone else’s name on the ballot paper.”
He also said he had little choice but to reach a deal with the Scottish Government to pave the way for the referendum.
“Of course, I want to see Scotland stay in the United Kingdom but I faced a choice in 2011 when the Scottish nationalists were elected to run the Scottish government.
“Do you have a referendum or do you have some massive fight with them saying ‘no, no you can’t possibly have this choice’?
“I thought the right thing to do, and this was backed by the other parties at the time, and I remain of the view it was the right thing to do, was to give the Scottish people a fair, legal and decisive referendum.
“That’s what will happen. It was absolutely the right decision.
“You have to decide the prior question as it were – does Scotland want to stay in the United Kingdom or separate itself from the United Kingdom.
“Once you have settled that question, then you can properly engage with future acts of devolution – on which again I have a pretty good track record.
“We have a massive act of devolution coming through right now giving the Scottish Parliament far more power to spend money as it chooses.”
A spokesman for First Minister Alex Salmond: “What Mr Cameron does the day after a ‘yes’ vote in September is entirely up to him and his party.
“In the meantime, he should step up to the plate and agree to a head-to-head debate with the first minister, as he will find it very difficult to defend his position following a ‘yes’ vote if he has not come out to bat for his side.
“So far, the succession of day-tripping ministers the prime minister has dispatched north have succeeded only in rallying more and more people across Scotland behind the ‘yes’ campaign.”