Scottish independence: Deal struck for single-question referendum in Autumn 2014
A DEAL on holding Scotland’s historic referendum on independence has been mapped out by the SNP and Coalition Ministers.
• ‘Substantial progress’ made in talks between Nicola Sturgeon and Michael Moore
• A few ‘final details’ are expected to be resolved before David Cameron and Alex Salmond meet in Edinburgh next week
• Legislation to construct the referendum will likely go before both the Westminster and Holyrood parliaments in the near future
Following further discussions between Scottish Secretary Michael Moore and Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, a Scottish Government spokesperson said that “substantial progress” had now been made on ensuring a legal vote, organised by the Scottish Parliament, in Autumn of 2014.
She said only a few “final details” were left to be resolved, prior to a meeting between Alex Salmond and David Cameron, expected on Monday next week.
The deal will see the vote being held in two years time, with a single question on whether or not people want the country to become an independent state.
The SNP’s preferred wording “Do you agree that Scotland should become an independent country?” will be tested by the Electoral Commission to ensure fairness.
It is also likely that the deal will allow Scottish Ministers to try and give 16 and 17-year-olds a vote in the referendum.
UK Ministers will now table legislation in the UK Parliament in two weeks time, with a “Section 30” order to be passed giving Holyrood the full legal authority to conduct the referendum itself.
MSPs will then scrutinise the proposals over the coming year.
The statement declared: “Further substantial progress towards agreement was reached this afternoon between the Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Secretary of State Michael Moore. Officials have now been tasked with doing some further work on the final detail of the agreement.”
It added: “We are however on track for the full agreement, including the terms of a section 30 order, to be presented to the First Minister and the Prime Minister over the next few days.”
A Scottish Government source said that there remained some work to be done on the plans, saying the final sign off would be for the First Minister and Prime Minister next week.
The news came as former defence secretary Liam Fox has described Alex Salmond as a “political opportunist, not a commander-in-chief”, in a fierce attack on the SNP’s defence plans which, he warned, could damage Britain’s attempts to crack down on drugs and piracy.
In a speech to the conference, Dr Fox also claimed it was “Alice in Wonderland” politics to claim Scotland could join Nato at the same time as removing Trident from the Clyde.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 26 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 8 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: South