Scottish independence: Devo-max ‘muddies referendum waters’
The independence referendum must not be used to ask Scots about more powers for Holyrood, Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has warned.
He insisted it would “muddy the waters” if the third option, known as “devo-max”, was added to the ballot paper in 2014, along with a straight Yes/No option on independence.
But the Liberal Democrats would push for more powers if Scots voted to stay in the UK.
Mr Moore’s comments came as Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie voiced concern that voluntary sector chiefs were “working closely” with the Scottish Government on a third option, prompting an angry response from the SNP.
Mr Moore said: “We want to work with the Scottish Government to deliver a vote on that central issue which SNP activists have campaigned for. Let’s have it.
“But independence is quite separate to devolution, and we don’t need to muddy the waters about that by having two questions on the same ballot paper. We can continue to have that debate and we as a party will certainly be setting out our ideas for the future of devolution in the months ahead.”
Meanwhile, a poll for civic Scotland chiefs found 68 per cent want a wider debate about Scotland’s future, considering “all possible alternatives”.
The Future of Scotland campaign, which commissioned the poll, includes third sector, trade union, business and religious leaders. It also includes the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), whose chief executive Martin Sime was singled out by Mr Rennie at the weekend.
“There are increasing suspicions that he is working closely with the Scottish Government on this agenda,” Mr Rennie wrote in an article for Scotland on Sunday.
But this was branded an “extraordinary attack” by a spokesman for First Minister Alex Salmond yesterday.
“The Lib Dems appear to be in a blind panic over the prospect of a second question, despite claiming to be the party of home rule,” the spokesman said.
“It simply shows the extent to which they are out-Torying the Tories, not just in government at Westminster but also in the No campaign.
“We have always said we are open-minded on a question on enhanced devolution, which is why we asked people about this issue in our referendum consultation, which is now being analysed.”