Scottish independence: 'Deal agreed' on referendum

Nicola Sturgeon and Michael Moore Nicola Sturgeon and Michael Moore spoke on the phone on Monday

The basis of a deal has been reached between the UK and Scottish governments over the independence referendum.

In a joint statement Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Secretary Michael Moore said "substantial progress" had been made.

But the BBC understands that although a few minor details need to be ironed out, a package of measures has been agreed.

It paves the way for a meeting between David Cameron and Alex Salmond.

This is expected to take place on Monday in Edinburgh.

The prime minister and the first minister are expected to agree on a plan which will involve a referendum which asks a single yes/no question on whether Scotland should leave the United Kingdom.

It is understood the agreement will also extend the vote to include those aged over 16 in Scotland.

Mr Moore, who is currently on holiday, and Ms Sturgeon spoke on the phone on Monday night and are due to do so again on Friday.

'Further work'

It follows a series of face-to-face meetings and negotiations between the pair in recent weeks.

Scottish Office Minister David Mundell said there would be a single question

A joint statement issued by the Scottish government and the Scotland Office after Mr Moore and Ms Sturgeon's latest conversation said: "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.

"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."

The BBC's political editor, Nick Robinson, said the deal - if it is finalised - will be presented as "a compromise involving concessions by both sides".

The SNP is understood to have accepted a single question referendum, as opposed to two questions including one on greater powers for the Scottish Parliament, whilst the UK government has abandoned its opposition to giving 16 and 17-year-olds a vote.

One question

Scotland Office Minister, David Mundell, who has been involved in the negotiations, told the BBC there will be one question and confirmed the vote will be held before the end of 2014.

He said: "It won't automatically be the case that 16 and 17-year-olds can vote in the referendum.

"The UK government, certainly the Conservative party, oppose that change.

Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney said it was vital for young people to participate

"It will be up to Scottish Parliament to determine who can vote in the referendum in Scotland, and also the date and the nature of the question."

Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney said progress had been made but "further ground" had to be covered before a final agreement is reached.

He added: "The Scottish government has always made clear that we preferred to have a single question on whether Scotland should become an independent country.

"But we also recognised that some people in Scotland want to consider other options to strengthen the powers of the parliament.

"That is a question we have consulted upon, it is one we have discussed and it has been an important part of the discussions with the UK government, but throughout all of this our preference has been to have a single question."

When a final agreement between the two governments is formalised legislation to set up the referendum is expected go before both the Westminster and Holyrood parliaments.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    I wonder if a 16 year old will consider the wider ramifications of Scottish independence? Ulster Scots cut adrift with maybe a future United Ireland/Irish civil war. An 'Independent' Scotland with a currency controlled by the Bank of England, an English Queen as head of state and with a country heavily reliant on the public sector.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    Why are the English people who are basically saying "good riddance" so bitter about the possibility of an independent Scotland?

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    OMG are we being allowed to comment by the North Korean branch of the BBC. "Shurely shome mishtake", as Shir Shean would say.

    When can we get back to normality of being told what to think by BBC Scotland as opposed to saying what we think?

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    The fear of an invasion of England by the French or the Spanish, via, or with the collusion of the Scots has long since disappeared. Hence the main reason for the alliance has long since disappeared.
    The post-industrial society has not treated the Scots well; however only time will tell us whether there is a mood for change in the Scots

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    - Cameron says it "Sink or Swim" time for the UK - doesn't he really mean it's "sink or swim" for HIM AND OSBORNE?!

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    The point here is that it is never going to be proper independence is it? I mean are you going to have your own army? currency? car registration? nhs? Because the way I see it is that all the stuff you currently have up there is property of UK Government so you better start building your own hospitals now, or offer us a good price for them.

    Same goes with all the Public sector jobs up there.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    "Scotland would end up with their own "ConDem" party!! "

    Scotland will never vote in the Tories again and the LibDems have gone down the same road as the Tories by their betrayal by joining the Tories in power.

    The SNP may or may not win Independence but because of Labour's performance in Scotland the SNP will retain power in Scotland for many years to come.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    Don't mind Scotland going independent, what worries me is the terms and how much money we will give them.
    If Scotland votes for independence, then let the rest of the UK vote on the conditions and how much money we give them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    Give England the refferendum. Guarenteed 'Yes' vote. I hope they do break away 'cos it'll be interesting to see how they actually cope with their debts given that even now their freebies are unsustainable, though I suspect the SNP only want to keep that up until just after the vote.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    Do plebs sink and toffs swim in Scotland as well?

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    Cue hundreds of narrow minded & entrenched views.

    I fall in to the undecided camp as I haven't heard the case from either side. So far we've had a series of scaremongering statements from Westminster and very little detail from the SNP. I expect more of the same over the next two years but hopefully we'll be able to pick the meat from the bones and make an informed decision when the time comes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    Can we in the rest of the uk have a vote as to whether we want scotland to leave. I also think this should happen sooner rather than later. The only reason for the delay is because salmon knows he can't win a vote at the moment, but he can make political capital in the mean time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    All well and done asking 16 years old to vote but if and I mean if Scotland goes Indipendent will this mean 16 year old can vote who runs the country in future elections! I think mr Salmond and his bullies are clutching at straws.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    If the Scots want independence then fine but it must be on the understanding that no financial support is given from Westminister. This would mean the Scots raising taxes for Health, Education, Defence, Policing and the list goes on. No more free hand outs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    I for one am happy that after years of being denied a choice the people finally get one, and that Westminster finally gives in, albeit with a lot of bad grace and condescension.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    The main thing that is wrong with this so called deal on a Scots Referendum is that it doesn't include the rest of the UK. English, Irish and the Welsh should all have a vote along with the Scots. I can more or less guarantee the result. Will we all get a tax rebate in the rest of the UK?

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Shame they couldn't just slice Mr Salmond off and push him out into the North Sea.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Scotland is a terrible country anyway, let's be honest.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    Now, finally we'll get an opportunity to rid Scotland of the abomination of nuclear bombs on the Clyde - we can stop sending soldiers to illegal and unwinnable wars - and we can stop being governed by right wing coalitions that we never voted for. Vote yes for a peaceful, fairer way.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    What happens to the SNP after a no vote?


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