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 252.

    I am Scottish, all we hear from the SNP is what they are want to do but NOT how they will provide the money for it. Already councils are cutting services all over the place to fund things like free presctiptions and care.
    If they do win, taxes will rocket to pay for all this as I agree that there would be no more money from Westminster and they would have to stand (and fall) on their owen 2 feet.

  • rate this

    Comment number 251.

    The success of a 'one nation' position is judged by that 'nation' not falling apart at the seams. Cameron's policies will unravel along with the social fabric while Ed's policies will be dictated by focus groups and marketing strategies i.e. They will be without substance. Why should the people of Scotland accept such leadership?

  • Comment number 250.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 249.

    No point to a Soverign Wealth Fund - We've had successive Labour Governments that have spent every penny and borrowed massively to create a Nation in Debt - £1.2 trillion in 2009! Just remember it was Harold Wilson who was in power 64-70 when oil was discovered, he devalued the pound, pumped billions into failing nationalised industry and had no foresight set up a Wealth Fund!

  • rate this

    Comment number 248.

    If the Scots vote for independence good luck to them. The only thing that annoys me is when Salmond and his ilk argue that the Union has never brought any benefits to Scotland. They forget that when the Union was formed Scotland was a bankrupt nation and by uniting with England they had access to the English colonies which formed the basis of the British Empire and 250 years of economic growth.

  • rate this

    Comment number 247.

    Time for Scotland to stop subsidising the SE of England - vote YES! That way, Scotland can do the SE of England a favour by forcing them to earn a living for a change. They then might appreciate what they have.

  • rate this

    Comment number 246.

    "Somewhere I saw that 90% of Scots are net receivers from the state. If this is true .........."

    It's not true - I can only assume that the figure referred to a depressed housing estate, much like some of the estates elsewhere in the UK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 245.

    The vast majority of politicians in Westminster and Brussels probably haven't even visited Scotland on holiday.

    I haven't visited Newcastle, it doesn't mean I think that's a reason to be independent of them.

    My Grandmother lived in Inverness and She never visited Glasgow , but She didn''t think it was in another country. Mind you a visit to Sauchiehall Street would have changed Her mind

  • rate this

    Comment number 244.

    Look - I am Scottish but have lived all my life south of the border. What nation will I belong to if Scotland votes to go it alone? And will any of the ex-pat Scots (millions of them worldwide with family back "home") get a say in this? No.
    You cannot re-write hundreds of years of history like this. I am British and Scottish and love being both.

  • rate this

    Comment number 243.

    an I the only one that is utterly terrified at the prospect of an independent Scotland? all I have heard so far are arguments that it's time to go it alone "we can do it" "we don't want a Westminster Government" but has anyone really outlined HOW on earth we are going to do it? I've also not heard about how much of the UK's national debt we are going to have to take with us either!! minor details?

  • rate this

    Comment number 242.

    Greece and Ireland are twice Scotland's size and they are both regularly bullied."

    When you've received so much EU aid over the past 30-40 years, there are many who might quite like that sort of "bullying".

  • rate this

    Comment number 241.

    Can somebody clairfy would this be independence from the UK & Britain?

    If so surely the Scots would need their own independent economy, including currency, passports, budgets - the list goes on.

    Picking and chooisng what they take should not be an option - it should be all or nothing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 240.

    Wow, the usual jingoistic crap from both the highest rated & lowest rated comments.

    I'll be voting for independence, I'd ask you folks who live in England (you know, the people who LIVE there, including people originally from MANY OTHER countries) to urge your politicians to consider independence also.

    The UK is dead. Time to split it up and move on.

    Don't make this into a nationalist issue.

  • rate this

    Comment number 239.

    If Scots do vote for Independence any chance you could reserve a place for this Englishman to come up there?

    Of course

    And at the Independence ceremony we're going to have front row seats reserved for Malcolm Rifkind, Michael Forsyth, Norman Tebbit etc etc

    This could never have happened without these people and we should show our appreciation for their critical contribution to British history

  • rate this

    Comment number 238.

    Do you get the feeling it's like a couple going for a divorce with one individual expecting to get everything they want and telling the kids just that? Somehow I think said individual is going to be very disappointed. Let's not even consider the anger of the kids...

  • rate this

    Comment number 237.

    Divots - You're clearly misinformed. Since devolution Scotland's EEZ has been marked out LEGALLY. It existed before then just not officially. Upon independence that EEZ will belong to the new sovereign state of Scotland along with all the oil in it. People tend to forget Scotland is a self governing nation within the UK and is legally recognised as such internationally.

  • rate this

    Comment number 236.

    Personally I hope Scotland votes for independance but they won't.

    London/SE England subsidises not just Scotland but also Wales, NI and northern England.

    Most scots accept this and realise they will alot worse off without the union especially if their new currency is the Euro because they can wave goodbye to the pound.

  • rate this

    Comment number 235.

    Thankfully, the rest of Europe like the Scots, and particularly the French and Germans.
    England is becoming smaller and smaller and so insignificant on the world map.
    When it finally seperates from Europe, it can relish in its unique qualities such as:

    Morris Dancing, and Royal watching. ( I think that covers it!)

  • rate this

    Comment number 234.

    I have my faith in the people of Scotland that they will make the right decision and stay British as well as Scottish.

  • rate this

    Comment number 233.

    If I lived in Scotland I would vote for independence. The reason is simple I would rather be poor in my country than be rich in a foreign country ruled by a foreign political system where you have very little say. Remember Freedom is better when ruled by your own incompetent government rather than a foreign incompetent government


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