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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  • Comment number 112.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    rate this
    rate this
    Comment number 15.lfd44

    30 Minutes ago

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

    So how come so many English people live here then?

  • rate this

    Comment number 110.

    91. Walt78:

    Absolutely spot on. Salmond and his cronies are power hungry amateurs. Either way, going alone just now is incredibly risky given the financial instability across the globe. We would be lambs to the slaughter.

  • rate this

    Comment number 109.

    I have to say it seems the Scots are more anti English than the English are Anti Scottish

    It's anti-Westminster

    and anti-Tory

    There are more Pandas than Tory MPs in Scotland

    Tory policies are 98% irrelevant to the Scottish people, an irrelevant minority party with a single seat

    1 Tory MP out of 60 Westminster MPs

    So when the Westminster Tories rip our society to pieces we're not happy

  • rate this

    Comment number 108.

    @70 anotherfakename

    When it comes to oil, armed forces et al remember who has footed the bill and we will keep them. Can't be anything but good.
    No problem mate. Where would you like your nuclear missiles delivered? Wales? Of course sir coming right up...

    @ 94. Hil
    Do the Scots realise they are not voting for independence for Scotland, but independence for England?
    Wales, N. Ireland? Sigh

  • rate this

    Comment number 107.

    Besides, are they going to rebuild Hadrian's wall if independance is gained?

    Talk about the north/south divide...

  • rate this

    Comment number 106.

    "not only are they anti-Scottish, they are ill-informed, wrong and downright bigoted"

    I can't see any comments like that. It seems if a Scot wants independence from England they're a right-minded, free-thinking patriot. But if an Englishman wants independence from Scotland they're an anti-Scottish bigot. Strange when they both want the same thing!

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    Which ever way you turn there is gerrymandering - underage voting in Scotland. Clegg's attempt to (PR) fix a new upper chamber with a permanent LibDem balance of power. His earlier attempt to rig the Commons with a transferable vote.
    At least the proposed reduction in MPs and equal constituencies is designed to right a wrong.
    What happened to attempting to convince a true majority of the merits.

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    1 Mr Moore is a Lib Dem ergo anything he sais will be a lie. 2 As a Lib Dem any deal done will be ratified on the basis that as in UK politics his unelectable party gain power and advantage through the back door.3 The only question the Scots need to answere is Scotland to become completely independent or not.Anything else would be plain wrong!

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    All this will do is pander to the Nationalists either side of the border.

    Silly little men with flags who serve no useful purpose than keeping alive ancient feuds.

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    Fantastic. Most Scots don't want independence so let's have the vote and get Alex Salmond's career over and done with.

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    26. Sheneval
    "Scotland would end up with their own "ConDem" party!! "

    I know that Scotland would never vote Tory..I am comparing the ConDem party to the SNP party.

    I am British but also Scottish..I will vote with my head NOT my heart. People should remember that there are many English in Scotland and more in England! What do they propose everyone goes home!! Some may say yes but that is foolish

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    78.Rufus McDufus
    1 Minute Ago
    Is there some sort of firewall preventing people in Scotland commenting then?

    ... The BBC took await the right for us to comment on the Scottish political blogs after SNP were voted into power at the Scottish Parliament 2 years ago. The rest of the UK can still comment on their political blogs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    78.Rufus McDufus
    "Is there some sort of firewall preventing people in Scotland commenting then?"

    Afraid so commenting on the Scottish Political Expert's Blog has been banned for many months now

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    I don’t care provided the Scottish people do not see the SNP as their salvation, for they are far from it and will turn on a sixpence if given real power. I would like to see the other parties take Scotland seriously the fact they don’t is why we have a SNP control today. Independence is a nostalgia fed on an increasingly diminishing oil reserves and an ego trip for Salmond I can’t support.

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    Scottish independence is a mad suggestion

    Nothing mad about it at all. Plenty of other countries have done it in the last hundred years or so and many of them seem to be getting along ok.
    There will be a lot of problems to solve, but nothing is insurmountable.
    But they haven't voted yet, so let's see what happens first...

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    With an independent Scotland the likelihood of the Labour Party ever being able to provide a majority government in England again should diminish considerably. This can only be a good thing for so many reasons.

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    The SNP are not giving much information as to what will actually become of scotland if it does become independant, therefore making it impossible to make an informed decision! Also giving the vote to 16 year olds is a way for the SNP to influence the younger more impressionable population before the vote!

  • rate this

    Comment number 94.

    It is a unique situation. Do the Scots realise they are not voting for independence for Scotland,but independence for England?

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.

    If it happens it will be down to successive Westminster governments having little interest in any part of the country beyond the M25.

    Westminster politics is now obsessed with narrow minded lobby interests and personal self interest. They have no interest in addressing the real day to day issues of the Bristish people.


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