Scottish independence: Legal battle lines to be drawn

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore The scottish secretary will say a referendum on Scottish independence will be merely advisory

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The Scottish Secretary, Michael Moore, will make a statement to the Commons on Tuesday on the legal status of a referendum on Scottish independence.

He will say that a vote organised by the Scottish government would be purely advisory and open to legal challenge since the power to change Scotland's constitutional status rests with Westminster.

He will offer to temporarily transfer that power to the Scottish Parliament providing that Alex Salmond's government agree to hold a vote which is "fair, decisive and clear" - ie is a simple once and for all YES or NO vote on independence and does not involve a second vote on greater powers for the Scottish Parliament.

Ministers fear that two votes risks creating confusion. They also argue that giving the Scottish Parliament greater powers over tax and spend without full independence would have knock-on consequences for the rest of the UK and so cannot be a matter for the Scottish people alone to decide on.

Although the statement will talk of a temporary transfer of power it will not impose any 18-month time limit.

However, the three Unionist parties - Conservatives, Lib Dems and Labour - all argue that a vote should come sooner rather than later.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 212.

    @67. zakuk

    Um excuse me for being thick here... a Scottish Crown took the English throne, not the other way around

  • rate this

    Comment number 211.

    And here it is the only the reason that the English government wants a line drawn under this ASAP is OIL. The same reason we went to war in Iraq. This is the only reason the Tories in ENGLAND want it done now. Cause it'll damage their recovery not Scotland's, cause oil would belong to use.

    I'm for voting yes and wining our freedom forever when it suits Scotland not England!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 210.

    @209. No We Can't. Neither can Sean "Canary", or any of the rest of the Old or New Diaspora. That's just the price we pay for having "had to" leave in the first place. But if you become (or remain) domiciled and register to vote in the next 1000 days, then Yes...

    Big Ming on Today this morn gave some sense of the urgency now felt in Westminster as the real End Of Union debate is about to begin.

  • rate this

    Comment number 209.

    Who gets to vote in an independence referendum? I was born in Scotland to two Scots parents. I consider myself Scottish, British and European, in that order. I feel passionately about the issue...but since I live in England do I get a say?

  • rate this

    Comment number 208.

    @204 & 202 why would scottish mps want to sit at Westminster if they get independence. Typical of a number of ill informed comments on this subject. Scots going for independence want to be free from Westminster


Comments 5 of 212



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