Scottish independence: SNP rejects claims referendum deal is near
THE Scottish Government has rebuffed suggestions that ministers are close to reaching a deal with Westminster over the independence referendum, with one leading Nationalist MSP insisting “more powers” for Holyrood need to be properly considered.
• SNP denies suggestions a referendum deal is near after Scottish Secretary Michael Moore underscores commitment to single question ballot
• Moore claims “a legal, fair and decisive referendum” can be agreed by end of October
Speaking after Scottish Secretary Michael Moore underlined his commitment to single question on the ballot paper, a spokesman for the SNP’s Cabinet secretary for government strategy, Bruce Crawford, suggested that a second question on devo-max would be looked at.
The comments will be seen as a rebuttal of Mr Moore’s claim yesterday that he was confident that “a legal, fair and decisive referendum” can be agreed by the end of October.
Mr Crawford’s spokesman said: “It is only right that matters such as a ‘more powers’ option are carefully and properly considered, which is exactly what the Scottish Government are doing. Our consultation received more than 26,000 responses and is currently being independently analysed.”
At the National Business Convention in Edinburgh, Michael Moore pointed out that the Scottish Government’s original stance was for one question, despite signs that First Minister Alex Salmond is prepared to go for two to give the SNP a fall-back position.
Mr Moore said: “The Scottish Government was elected on the promise of a single question independence referendum. All of Scotland’s political parties support that and the UK government will work with the Scottish Government to deliver it.”
Mr Moore said he was looking forward to seeing the responses to the SNP government’s consultation “very soon” and was confident a deal can be reached by the end of October.
He said: “Do [the SNP] want the single question on the independence referendum that they pledged in their manifesto? Or do they want to muddy the waters with a separate question on devolution?
“We are entitled to ask why would they suddenly want this now. Would a Scottish Government call for a second question be any more than an admission that they cannot win the first?”
Speaking to business leaders, Mr Moore maintained the UK government was working to improve the outlook for small and medium-sized enterprises.
He defended the coalition’s response to the economic crisis arguing that it was creating a stable, competitive tax system.
The UK and Scottish governments would work together for the greater economic good, he said, arguing that Scotland was better off as part of the UK.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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