By Jennifer Newton
With just days to go until Scotland goes to the polls in the independence referendum a ‘passport control centre’ has sprung up on the Scottish border.
Motorists driving past the ‘checkpoint’ at the border at Carter Bar, near Jedburgh, were shocked to see a barrier erected along with signs claiming to be from the ‘Scottish Border Agency’.
Underneath it read that the checkpoint would be opening on September 19, 2014, the day after the vote, with piper Alan Smith from nearby Hawick, being the first man to pass through the border.
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A man has his passport checked at the spoof ‘passport control centre’, which sprung up on the Scottish border near Jedburgh today
The pranksters erected the signs and the barrier, which claim to be in operation by September 19, the day after the vote
However, it has transpired that the ‘mock’ border was the work of pranksters, who were hoping the stunt would lighten what they called the ever-increasing heat of the debate.
Organiser of the prank, Jon Parker Lee, a photographer from Manchester said: ‘We’re not making a point for either side.
‘We’ve staged this together as a group of Scotland and English. We’re simply united in having a laugh.
The pranksters say they were hoping the stunt would lighten what they called the ever-increasing heat of the debate
Questions remain over whether there would be a need for a border control of any sort if Scotland goes it alone
Under Alex Salmond’s plans for independence, he insists there will be no need for border controls with England
‘Come what may, we all love a wind-up, and maybe this will give everyone a laugh and a break from the ever-increasing heat of the debate.’
The spoof border comes after both the Yes and No campaigns have clashed on if there should be border controls on the Scottish/England border.
Under Alex Salmond’s plans for independence, he insists there will be no need for border controls with England, but Labour’s Ed Miliband has signalled border guards and passport checks would have to be considered to control immigration.
Alex Salmond, pictured posing for selfies with supporters on the campaign trail in Stirling, insists there will be no need for border controls with England in the event of a Yes vote
Mr Salmond also hopes for an independent Scotland to join Common Travel Area (CTA) which allows free movement between the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man
Mr Salmond also hopes for an independent Scotland to join Common Travel Area (CTA) which dates back to the 1920s and allows free movement between the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
The official white paper for independence states: ‘We plan to remain part of the CTA which means that there will be no border controls, and you will not need a passport to travel to other parts of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.’
However, Mr Miliband said the only way to maintain an open border was to reject independence.
But Labour leader Ed Miliband, pictured with the No campaign in Edinburgh last week, says the only way to maintain an open border was to reject independence
‘If you don’t want borders, vote to stay in the United Kingdom,’ the Labour leader said in an interview with the Scottish Mail on Sunday.
Asked whether that would mean him introducing border guards and passport checks if he was Prime Minister, Mr Miliband warned: ‘It would have to be looked at.’
And Mr Miliband’s spokesman added: ‘The last time I looked there were two sides to the border – and we would be in charge of one of them. It would be up to us, not Mr Salmond, to secure our northern border.’
The spoof border crossing prank came as David Cameron tonight begged Scots not to rip the United Kingdom apart in a ‘painful divorce’, as he bluntly told his enemies he would not be Prime Minister forever.
He appeared teary-eyed as he issued his most emotional plea yet to voters in Thursday’s historic referendum: ‘Please don’t break this family apart.’
Making his tenth and final visit to Scotland ahead of Thursday’s historic referendum, the Prime Minister’s voice cracked as he told an audience in Aberdeen how preserving the Union is ‘the best hope for your family in this world’.
David Cameron appeared teary-eyed as he made his most emotional plea yet to voters in Thursday’s historic referendum
the Prime Minister’s voice cracked as he told an audience in Aberdeen how preserving the Union is ‘the best hope for your family in this world
Mr Cameron’s desperate plea came after an opinion poll suggested a majority of voters in Scotland, and across the UK, think that since agreeing to Alex Salmond’s demand for a yes/no vote, Mr Cameron has handled the campaign ‘badly’.
Making repeated references to ‘family’ and safety, he said that if voters have any doubts about the impact of independence on their loved ones, they should vote No.
The speech came as a trio of celebrities addressed crowds at an anti-independence rally in London this evening.
Irish-born Bob Geldof appeared at the Better Together rally in Trafalgar Square, London, this evening to the bemusement of many critics
Comedian Eddie Izzard, born in Yemen, who sported a Union Jack manicure as he told Scots: ‘We care’
Bob Geldof, Eddie Izzard and Al Murray pleaded with a packed Trafalgar Square tonight to remain part of the 307-year-old union which has given them ‘everything’.
But critics were quick to question their motives – as none of the three speakers was Scottish.
Born in Ireland, Geldof said he had an ‘immigrant’s gratitude’ to the union to which he owed ‘everything’.
Comedian Al Murray told the crowds which had gathered in London that he liked Britain as it was ‘vague’
His sentiments were echoed by Yemen-born Eddie Izzard, who said: ‘If you care, this is the time to say it, to stand up, and if you care about the future of Scotland this is your time to show it.
While English-born comedian Murray added: ‘I like being British, it’s so vague. The clue is in the name Brit-ish. We’re ish’.’
Elsewhere the debate seemed to take a lighter turn, as SNP leader Alex Salmond was spotted posing for selfies.
The First Minister of Scotland took pictures with a handful of girls on the campaign trail in Stirling this afternoon, after yesterday admitting he considered the 500,000 undecided voters ‘deferres Yes-es’.