Mick Jagger joins celebrity push to keep Scotland in the UK

LONDON - Rolling Stone Mick Jagger and over 200 stars of film, art, sports and literature have signed a letter urging Scotland to remain part of the United Kingdom, six weeks ahead of a historic referendum on independence.

In an attempt to win the hearts and minds of Scots before the Sept. 18 vote, anti-independence group "Let's Stay Together", which aims to give a voice to the millions of Britons outside Scotland who don't have the right to vote, released a letter on Thursday signed by a Who's Who of celebrities.

Opinion polls show most Scots will vote against breaking the 307-year union with England. But they also show that many have not yet decided how they will vote, injecting an element of uncertainty into the outcome. "The decision on whether to leave our shared country is, of course, absolutely yours alone," the celebrities wrote in the letter, which was addressed to "Dear Voters of Scotland".

"Nevertheless, that decision will have a huge effect on all of us in the rest of the United Kingdom. We want to let you know how very much we value our bonds of citizenship with you, and to express our hope that you will vote to renew them." Other big names who signed the appeal included actresses Helena Bonham-Carter and Judi Dench, show business impresario Simon Cowell, scientist Stephen Hawking, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, singer Cliff Richard and actor Dominic West, star of cult US series The Wire.

Between them, organisers said the signatories had 18 Olympic gold medals, 44 Bafta awards, one Nobel prize and two Turner prizes.

The pro-independence camp has its own celebrity backers including Sean Connery, actor Brian Cox, and novelist Irvine Welsh. Harry Potter author JK Rowling has come out against independence.