Signed, sealed and delivered: The main points of the referendum agreement
Under the terms of the deal Holyrood has been handed the power to legislate for a referendum any time before the end of 2014.
The move allows Alex Salmond to hold the referendum during his preferred timescale of autumn 2014 – in the aftermath of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the 700th anniversary of Bannockburn. However, a “sunset clause” means Mr Salmond would be unable to delay the referendum beyond that year.
The extension of the franchise to 16- and 17-year-olds has been a key demand of the Scottish Government. However, the age group is arguably a great unknown, given it was not part of the franchise for the last Holyrood elections and also tends to be subjected to opinion polling less.
The wording of the question
The Section 30 Order hands the Scottish Parliament the authority to ask a straight Yes or No question on independence, with no second question on greater economic powers for Holyrood. Alex Salmond had previously hinted at backing a second question on an option such as devo-max - full fiscal powers.
Rules on campaign financing
The deal makes it clear the Scottish Parliament will have the ultimate say in setting spending limits in the run-up to the referendum, likely to be 16 weeks. However, SNP ministers will have to consult the Electoral Commission and “have regard to its views”.
Other rules that come later in the document
Section 30 deal - the transfer of power
This agreement protects the Scottish Government from a legal challenge and the prospect of the referendum bill being clogged up in the courts.
A commitment by both sides to accept the outcome of the referendum. The government on the losing side would be compelled to co-operate in the immediate aftermath of the referendum.
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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