EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Prime Minister David Cameron urged Scots on Friday to vote to stay in the European Union, as they did to keep Scotland part of the United Kingdom in 2014.
Cameron wants a high turnout in a referendum on June 23 to help his campaign for a vote to stay in the 28-member bloc, and Scotland is largely pro-EU.
The Conservative leader may have to rely on the influence of the rival Scottish National Party, which rules Scotland and has hinted that he should steer clear of campaigning in the country in case he puts voters off.
“When the world wants to drink our whisky and eat our salmon ... Scotland relies on the door to the single market being wide open,” Cameron said, to a warm reception at the annual Scottish Conservative Conference.
He said being in the UK and the EU gave Scotland clout.
“What matters is turning patriotism into action, being able to get things done for the country you love, which is what I believe we can do in a reformed European Union,” he said.
A month before the EU referendum, Scotland will hold a Scottish parliamentary election, in which the Conservatives are likely to come third, according to opinion polls.
The Conservatives had their worst election result in decades in Scotland in a 2015 UK national election, but won the election across Britain overall.
The SNP has scolded Cameron for calling the EU vote so shortly after the election for Scotland’s Holyrood parliament, saying it showed disrespect for the issues facing Scottish people and gave voters too little time for debate.
Reporting by Elisabeth O'Leary; editing by Andrew Roche