Scottish independence: David Cameron concessions not enough, insists Alex Salmond
FIRST Minister Alex Salmond has refused to give up on a multi-option referendum, despite sources close to David Cameron saying that the Prime Minister is willing to concede to all the SNP’s referendum demands as long as there is a straightforward single question.
With discussions continuing over the proposed Section 30 order which would hand powers to Holyrood from Westminster to hold a referendum, there are reports that Mr Cameron has conceded the timing of a referendum and would be willing to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to take part.
But his one “red-line issue” is holding a single question.
Sources close to Mr Salmond hailed the concessions as a “major embarrassment” for pro-UK Scottish party leaders who, it is expected, will unveil an alternative question this week to the one proposed by the SNP.
A source close to Mr Salmond said that Mr Cameron had in effect also conceded the wording which made the alternative question null and void.
He added: “The Tory-led anti-independence campaign is becoming increasingly dysfunctional and divided. And the Electoral Commission have already said that they only test questions from governments.
“So the alternative question is an idea whose time has passed, and embarrassing for [Scottish Conservative leader] Ruth Davidson and [Scottish Lib Dem leader] Willie Rennie, who are clearly not being kept in the loop by UK ministers.”
A spokesman for the SNP also insisted that the terms of the referendum needs to be decided in Holyrood.
He said: “We have always said that we have absolutely no objection to a Section 30 order in regard to the referendum, and the UK government has to understand that the terms and timing of the referendum must be decided in Scotland, by the Scottish Parliament – not dictated by Westminster – and that includes a possible ‘more powers’ option. It is only right that these matters are carefully and properly considered, which is exactly what the Scottish Government are doing in our consultation.”
Negotiations between Whitehall and Holyrood are being carried out by Tory Scotland Office minister David Mundell and SNP parliamentary business Cabinet secretary Bruce Crawford. Mr Salmond has so far not accepted an invitation to meet Scottish Secretary Michael Moore for talks.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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