A LABOUR peer has called for two separate ballots held one month apart to settle Scotland’s constitutional future.
Lord Foulkes, a former Scotland Office minister and MSP, suggests holding a simple vote on independence then, assuming a “no” vote, a second referendum on increased devolution.
He said a proposal to combine three options on one paper, independence, the status quo or more devolved powers, is illogical.
He has tabled at motion on the subject at the House of Lords and hopes to win the approval of the Labour party, making it official policy.
Lord Foulkes said: “There’s been a lot of debate about whether there should be one or two questions in the referendum. There are people who want a choice about what devolution we should have, but to have that at the same time is confusing and illogical. They are two different things.
“We need to make a decision first on whether or not Scotland stays in the United Kingdom. If, as I hope, Scotland stays, then we can decide how much devolution we should have.”
The peer supports full financial control for Scotland and argues there should be a separate discussion about the options for the country within the UK.
The Scotland Bill, drawn up by the UK Government, proposes transferring limited controls to Holyrood while others have called for so-called devo-max.
Lord Foulkes, who sat as an MSP for the Lothians until May last year, said the second ballot could be held 35 days after the independence referendum, if Scots opt to stay in political union with England.
Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, wants the independence referendum to be held in autumn 2014 and has left the door open to a second question on enhanced devolution.
The Scottish and British governments are holding separate consultations on the staging of the ballot.