New devolution plans ‘should be put to referendum’

Professor John Curtice thinks the latest devolution proposals should be put to a referendum. Picture: Robert Perry

Professor John Curtice thinks the latest devolution proposals should be put to a referendum. Picture: Robert Perry

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BRITAIN’S leading polling expert has called for a referendum in Scotland on the latest devolution to Holyrood as means of reconnecting Scottish voters with the rest of the UK.

Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University told the House of Lords’ constitution committee that the proposals from the all-party Smith Commission needed to be put to voters to prove it is the settled will in Scotland.

He said: “I think you should be holding a referendum on the provisions of the Scotland Bill going through this place, and that forces the public to engage on the issue.

“The truth is that it is perfectly clear simply having held a referendum and having 55 per cent in favour of staying inside the UK has not done anything nothing to quell the debate.

“If you want to try and cement Scotland’s place in the Union then the unionist side had to stop apparently running away from facing the public and be willing take what you want to do and get a positive endorsement.”

He added: “If you get a situation with majority voting for it, then you can say not only did people vote against independence but people actually voted for this, this is what people in Scotland actually wanted.”

Prof Curtice warned that in the absence of a public endorsement of the Smith powers “you are always going to be in a difficult position”.

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