Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has called for an "honest debate" on independence, as he told Liberal Democrats that the UK Government will "flush out the facts and figures and put them up in lights".
Speaking at the party's Scottish Autumn conference, Mr Moore was joined by other leading Lib Dem figures in attacking the SNP's assertions on the EU, while emphasising the "critical role" of its own home rule policy.
The Scottish Government admitted this week that no specific legal advice was taken on entry to the European Union in the event of a vote for independence. The revelation followed concerted criticism from opposition parties about the SNP's attempts to keep the information under wraps.
Mr Moore told delegates: "The SNP has been clear that the Scottish Parliament must be trusted to run this referendum. And that's what we want too. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
"Just this week, the SNP got a taste of what happens when politicians play fast and loose with Scotland's future to meet their own narrow ends. Within the UK, Scotland benefits from membership of the European Union. So it's no surprise that Nationalists want us to believe that a separate Scotland would inherit automatic membership on present terms. But there is no firm basis for that claim."
He went on: "We can't have debate conducted on these terms. This referendum will present Scots with the biggest political decision that we will ever take.
"On all the big issues - the future of our economy, the strength of our defences, our role in the world - people in this country have a right to know the facts. They have a right to know what independence really means for them, their family, their community - our nation.
"There is no automatic entry to the EU, or Nato. There is no Sterling zone or national seat on the Monetary Policy Committee. There is no Scottish reserve that could bail out the banks in the way that the Treasury did. The Nationalists say that they want a positive campaign. But to get there, first they must set aside the assertions and begin to embrace reality. For our part, that is something that the UK Government is already doing."
Mr Moore added: "But no government has ever gone far enough to explain exactly why. So we need to flush out the facts and figures and put them up in lights. And over the coming months that is exactly what we will do."
Mr Moore said the Liberal Democrats' home rule policy, which would see further powers devolved to Scotland, and which was backed almost unanimously by delegates, was the "first choice" for Scottish voters. The message is clear. Vote Liberal Democrat, extend devolution. Vote SNP, end it altogether."