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 132.

    As long as the Scottish people vote with their brains and not their hearts, the Union is safe. But how likely is that?

  • rate this

    Comment number 131.

    Better to have a government that would spend £20b on Afghanistan and Iraq rather than the health care and education of the people of England. No wonder the Scots want out!

  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    It is counter intuitive of the SNP to think that in a world of globalisation with the rise of new, large & dominant economic powers that the lot of the Scottish people is better served by making the Nation smaller & more cut off. Scotland would have to reapply to join the EU & as such would get none of the existing veto concessions of the UK. Swapping Westminster for Brussels is not independence

  • rate this

    Comment number 129.

    I believe Scottish independence would be bad for all parties, as we're being hoodwinked into the benefits which aren't as good as King Salmon would have us believe. The one key benefit to Britain is that Labour would never get back into power but I'd rather lose this utopia in favour of keeping Britain intact, as we're stronger together than as individual nations driven apart by selfish idealisms!

  • rate this

    Comment number 128.

    94. Hil

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

    No Welsh or Irish in your little bubble, no wonder its not until 2014, its taking so long to educate people about this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 127.

    One of the most important issues with regards to Scottish independence is who gets the oil fields? """""

    Oil in Scottish water will be Scottish, the rest will be rUK. There are international standards to decide nearly all of those sea boundaries. The exception is around Rockall, where Ireland, Faroes, Scotland and rUK all have possible claims - but that's a tiny portion of the whole.

  • rate this

    Comment number 126.

    What the heck had Liam Neeson got to do with it?
    He's Northern Irish.

  • rate this

    Comment number 125.

    Is it coincidence that by waiting until Autumn 2014 the SNP are clinging cynically to some dream that Scotland will be basking in a month or two of a "feel good factor" generated by the Glasgow commonwealth games.?

  • rate this

    Comment number 124.

    If the Scots leave (fine) and enter Europe (fine) what on earth are we going to do about Schengen?

    I’m guessing they’ll have to sign up. Which means we are going to need serious border controls. Big razor wire fences, guards with dogs. Walking over the border is going to be so much more attractive than clinging to a train in the chunnel.

    Lockerbie could well be the next Sangatte.

  • rate this

    Comment number 123.

    I am Scottish. I am a member of the SNP. I will vote YES.

    I applaud many of the English nationalists on this thread. Those who want parity throughout the UK, no Scottish MPs voting on reserved issues (SNP MPs don't) etc etc.

    I just hope that you can emulate our success at having a Nationalist party at the heart of government that is inclusive of all races and nationalities, not a BNP clone.

  • rate this

    Comment number 122.

    Most of the world is in recession, the UK is struggling to re-build our economy, is this really the time to be spending money and effort on Independance? Would an Independant Scotland be able to pull its self out of recession without, or inspite of, the rest of the UK ? I am not saying they are wrong to consider it, but not just now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 121.

    aye there those who think this is a vote for a free england well think again ,about regional pay and all that,it will not belong before the dream of Percies and Mortimore families realise themselves in split up of england we will have the south and east prospering on banksterism and the rest livind foodilismland good luck to ALBAN tread the path of sustainabilty,and make it work

  • rate this

    Comment number 120.

    Will Mao Tse Salmond have the schoolchildren out on the streets waving his little red book ? Will we get a referendum on Europe after the referendum on independence ? Will Salmond and his far left acolytes tell anyone the truth about the financial prospects for Scotland ? What if some regions don't want independence ? Will there be a Scots secret police force? Will dissidents be arrested?

  • rate this

    Comment number 119.

    Wouldn't it be great if England could vote for independence from the UK too, then we could (maybe) get a government that acts in our best interests!

  • rate this

    Comment number 118.

    I'll hae a wee dram tae that!

    A wee warning for the English, if ye think ye can come and tak the Oil fi us, like ye did in the Falkland’s, remember, one of the problems and mistakes in docking nuclear submarines in Scottish waters, is that WE have our fingers on the button!

    - Now away and dance round yer Maypoles - Morris Men.



  • rate this

    Comment number 117.

    OK, I'm English and this is nothing to do with me. I have a question.

    Scottish Independence? Is this just a few people in positions of power wanted to create a niche for themselves. Is Mr Salmond seeking to be King Alex l. Is that what it is all about?

  • rate this

    Comment number 116.

    96.RobW - Thanks. I'd not thought of it like that. Suddenly I've changed my mind. Contrary to my previous posts I now think Scottish independence is the only way forward.

  • rate this

    Comment number 115.

    When is the referendum to be held in the rest of the UK to agree this?

    Also presumably if it's correct for 16+'s to vote in Scotland then I expect to see legislation enacted along the same lines for Parliamentary and Local Elections.

    Of course the majority of young people who express an opinion regularly support Labour ,so no danger of that happening this side of 2015

  • rate this

    Comment number 114.

    Please vote yes. Please please please vote yes. We'll be so glad to be shot of you.

    A word of warning for the future though. When you find that you've run out of money and can no longer balance your budget:

    1) Mel Gibson will be mysteriously unavailable.

    2) Liam Neeson will stop answering your calls.

    3) Sean Connery will have fled back to Hollywood.

    Good Luck.

    Send us a Post Card.

  • rate this

    Comment number 113.

    'Dinnae forget though, they can join the ARMY at 16 and get killed'

    They can't be sent on combat operations until they are 18


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