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 232.

    Give my best to the scottish, I hope we can part as friends...

    Otherwise, i can see the watchtowers and barbed wire fence going up.

    Forget Hadrians's wall, this'll be the Salmon Wall.

  • rate this

    Comment number 231.

    Good for the Scots ... bye bye. Now all we need is an English parliament and a re-assertion of Englishness and English rights. Wales and NI seem sorted.
    Strange that in a predominately English country the Englishman (and woman) have become the unrepresented 'minority'?

  • rate this

    Comment number 230.

    Looks like salmonds divide and rule is working. But if the question is so "unanswrable", why is he waiting another two years before asking it? In the meantime, he takes orders from the chinese consul about not seing the dalai lama, bullies Trump to support freeing the Lockerbie killer and sucks up to Rupert Murdoch and is supported bu tax exiles- welcome to McPyonyang!

  • rate this

    Comment number 229.

    Go to Scotland to look at a landmark thats been there for millions of years. . . . Its free, or very cheap and untouched

    Go to England to visit a landmark thats been there for millions of years. . . . . . They've put a fence up around it and charge a fortune for you to see it.

    It's not just parliament that will change

  • rate this

    Comment number 228.

    How about this smaller nation and its £400 billion Sovereign Wealth Fund?

    Glad you mentioned that. If Westminster had had the foresight to set up a similar oil fund for the UK, we probably could have avoided much of the effects of the global recession and the English could be enjoying free university education and prescriptions too...

  • rate this

    Comment number 227.

    I was at the Ryder Cup closing ceremony recently. When Alex Salmond appeared to receive the silver putter representing Gleneagles' hosting rights for the match in 2014 he was roundly jeered by all the Scots present. Mind you, I suspect most of them don't live in Scotland anyway. Personally I hope the Scots do vote for independence, it means independence for England too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 226.

    A single yes/no to an in/out question is the right choice. There was always an element of the SNP seeking to put secondary and tertiary questions on the ballet in order to gain extra powers, but that is not their raison d'etre; the SNP exist to gain independence for Scotland, and that is what they should campaign on.

    Two years will tell if the SNP truly represent the will of the Scots.

  • rate this

    Comment number 225.

    If Scotland decides to become Independant let England become independant also.

  • rate this

    Comment number 224.

    ##198 The skies the limit when U ARE NOT INDUSTRIALISED AND not handcuffed to the banksters of old london town,Norway or Noway that is the choice, once the NomDoms start funding the no with a blitz of advertising to undermine the democratic process we will have a better view of the truth,
    Scotland take the option Not Another Rough Wooing
    remember Swarkstone Bridge, lies and turning bak

  • rate this

    Comment number 223.

    Can somone tell me what Scots will actually be voting for?
    Independent Currency?
    Independent Millitary?
    Different head of state?
    How much of the oil fields?
    etc etc
    Because nothing I've read from any of the SNP says exactly what anyone voting Yes will get!
    And also assumes things like the rest of the UK agreeing to share the things Salmond wants to share because he can't afford them!

  • rate this

    Comment number 222.


    You what? 90%!? Can you honestly believe that is true? You must be trolling.

  • rate this

    Comment number 221.

    "Any sensible nation would never have entered a union with a country that dwarves it so in the first place. Fools."

    The SNP want to join the EU. They will be a nation of five million in a Union of five hundred million - 1% - and be "partners" with giants such as Germany, which alone is fourteen times bigger. Greece and Ireland are twice Scotland's size and they are both regularly bullied.

  • rate this

    Comment number 220.

    So many ignorant fools on here that need to learn some basic facts - first up is: Scotland is not subsidised by the Engliah taxpayer."

    This depends how you constrain the economics. On an aircraft do the first class and business class passengers subsidise the standby economy passengers or vice versa? In reality both need each other.

  • rate this

    Comment number 219.

    If our Scots brothers & sisters do vote for Independance any chance you could reserve a place for this Englishman to come up there?

    The risk of a Slasher Cameron/Boy Gideon majority forever more in the remaining Britain would be too much to bear - a Tory govt. would be one thing, but his bunch of Omnishambolic muppets, with their tax cuts for rich friends, pasty tax et al would too much...

  • rate this

    Comment number 218.

    "Good Luck when your economy goes down the toilet."

    What a sad little person

  • rate this

    Comment number 217.

    Because being ruled from Brussels or London is any different... They're both distant, foreign and uninterested in Scotland and it's people. Why pay foreign governments to do a job we'd be far better suited to doing ourselves ? WE live and work here. WE were born and raised here. The vast majority of politicians in Westminster and Brussels probably haven't even visited Scotland on holiday.

  • rate this

    Comment number 216.

    The majority of opinion polls both North and South of the Border indicate a Labour victory in 2015 by upwards of 60 seats,with approaching 50% of the Popular vote in Scotland far ahead of the SNP.

    Labour is of course opposed to independence.

    If perchance there is a vote Yes in 2014 which will not come into effect until after the 2015 election How the hell is that going to work?

  • rate this

    Comment number 215.

    Scotland has and continues to be a leach on the rest of the union, England especially would be so much better off it didn't have to subsidise the Scots any longer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 214.

    Somewhere I saw that 90% of Scots are net receivers from the state.

    If this is true they would be stupid to vote for independence & the rest of Britain stupid if they didn't quietly accept.

    Scots must understand it is a hard track if they go it alone. I wouldn't want an independent Scotland to become our main aid recipient.

  • rate this

    Comment number 213.

    Any sensible nation would never have entered a union with a country that dwarves it so in the first place. Fools.

    The original Union was a religious Union

    Scottish Presbyterians needed a strong ally in 1707

    Nearly 40 years later, in 1745, Scottish Catholics overran Scotland and rampaged all the way to Manchester

    Some people think it was the Darien Scheme but religion always trumps cash


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