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 52.

    10. The Ace Face
    "Does this mean we can deport all the Scottish people from the UK?"

    There are far more rUk people in Scotland but then its a nicer place to live.

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    Bring it on. Let us remove ourselves from this grotesque Tory Led administration. The Scots have never been Tories, yet we have been ruled by them most of my life.
    We will reclaim the land stolen from previous Monarchs and given to English Aristocrats, including Holyrood and Balmoral, and we will be a rich country. Scottish Oil, Coal, Wind power, Fishing, Agriculture, Whiskey, Tourism...

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    @41 - thats not the fault of the welsh, Scots or Northern Irish, if the citizens of England want their own representation then they should vote for a party offering it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    With Global economy the state that it's in, Scotland won't last 5 minutes on their own, so who do you think will be keeping them afloat?. . . . .That'll be the rust of us UK tax paying mugs then

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    So if Scotland leave the United Kingdom what will be the impact? Will we have a modern day equivalent of Hadrian's Wall where there is border control? What about the economic impact? Recent news articles have shown that some of the Scottish 'benefits' are too costly, How will they cope with that? I think this is just political claptrap. I can't see how this devolution would work in practice.

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    This is a for people in Scotland to decide yet the BBC only provides comment for bombardment from South of the border.
    Scotland is in a treaty with England that we can and will decide whether we wish it to continue or not. That is democracy. Providing bulk comment to those with no say in the matter stokes resentment and is a BBC disgrace

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    Who cares, if they want to leave let them. It's their country. If I was Scottish and I am not. Surely a vote for independence would increase taxes for all the Scottish people with extra Government jobs that will be needed to run Scotland. Unless they are happy with paying more out of their pay packets to fund this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    After another two years of an SNP led Scottish education programme, what chance today's 14 and 15 year olds will understand enough UK history or the consequences of the question on which they might vote in 2014. ? Lowering the minimum voting age should not alter the outcome - in an ideal world. However the SNP clearly believe they need 16 year olds to decide this issue. We should wonder why.

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

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

    Because you're the most anti-English people on the planet (quite an achievement !).

    Close the door on your way out please.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    If it was true that Scots are such a drain on the rest of the UK then that would mean that Westminster has consistantly failed us. I have to laugh at the comments from some of the English about the Scots - they actually think England is superior to the rest of us and have an empire mentality. The tactics used to scare the Scots have backfired because the English now believe the lies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    One thing I would do, which would help the 'No' campaign get on better.........get David Cameron to tell ALL businesses in England - Accept Scottish and Northern Irish bank notes!! It makes us angry and frustrated. If you had us saying ''We don't want YOUR money'' - how would you feel? Tell me I'm wrong about this.............go on?

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    Surely I can`t be alone in feeling furious that the country falls over backward to accomodate the Northern Irish, Welsh and the Scottish people but the English people are treated like second class citizens. Good luck to the Scottish people, I wish them well but would welcome the opportunity to vote on whether or not England should leave the United Kingdom

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    In response to squeezy, we do pay for the things you mentioned on our own taxes. Its just that Westminster collects all the taxes and returns some of the money north. Its up to the Scottish Govt how it spends it. If you have a gripe about tuition fees and prescription charges look to Westminster they have the power to change it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    One of the most important issues with regards to Scottish independence is who gets the oil fields? This question must be resolved so that voters know the full consequences of independence.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    2014. The year Scotland announces dependence on England.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    "we can stop sending soldiers to illegal and unwinnable wars - and we can stop being governed by right wing coalitions." 14

    Iraq and Afghanistan were started by Labour who the Scottish did vote for, with a Scottish educated PM and plenty of Scottish cabinet ministers.

    Voting Yes just because you don't like the current government is a bit short sighted don't you think?

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    Sensible Scots will see that the country without support from the rest of the UK would be a very expensive highly taxed country to live in . When as is expected a no vote comes what then for the SNP . They have pushed nothing but independance for years so it follows that there will be no point the party carrying on .

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    Excellent news that we finally have the legal framework in place to take the debate forward. Hopefully, the appalling political manoeuvring from all parties will give way to clear factual debate to inform the public's choice.

    But back on planet earth.........

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    I agree with your comments. Scottish independence will affect everyone in the UK. We all should have a vote. Independence would be guaranteed. And what currency are the Scots planning to use? Can't be the £ as its governed by the bank of England.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    For decades we have been moving towards a greater world unity and world tolerance. Lately, the tide seems to be turning towards a hunger for world disunity and conflict ...


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