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 292.

    Please, please Scots, vote for nationhood!

    But sadly we all know you wont, because you value your handouts from the English far more than your independence.

    What I dont understand is why the Conservatives are against it. Without the Scottish MPs there will never be another Labour government.

  • rate this

    Comment number 291.

    " how much of the UK's national debt we are going to have to take with us either!! "

    None of it. The national deficit was created and perpetuated by a foreign (non-Scottish) government. If we're part of the UK as Unionists often claim then we shouldn't inherit old debts from a country that no longer exists if we emerge as a new, independent nation.

  • Comment number 290.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 289.

    "Scotland - yes you would not be governed by Westminster - but would Alex Salmond and Co be any better? Just think about Lockerbie..."

    We'l be having elections post independence, so poss no Salmond or westminster. Just think about Iraq & Afghanistan....

  • rate this

    Comment number 288.

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

    Probably in the Daily Mail. What you read was rubbish.

    Come on people - THINK.
    If Scotland was a drag on the UK, Westminster would have cut them loose years ago. It has to contribute more than it takes out. That's why Westminster are so keen to keep it as part of the union...

  • rate this

    Comment number 287.

    I'm dual nationality!
    My Mum's English and my Dads A Scot.
    Do I get a vote on this?
    I love both countries and would be heartbroken to see them split but what worries me more is how expensive the logistics would be when we are in a recession.
    Something like this could devastate the entire UK at the very time when we most need to be United!

  • rate this

    Comment number 286.

    Many of us want the "Norwegian option""

    You mean whereby you impose all EU rules, pay them a large sum to access the single market but have no say in those rules?

    They probably do this BECAUSE THEY CAN AFFORD IT."

    When you have massive fish stocks and large oil and gas resources for a tiny population, anyone could afford it. Diversified economy it is not though.

  • rate this

    Comment number 285.

    It appears Cameron has been working for Scottish Independence all along. How else can you explain his policies that alienate the population of everywhere but the SE. Thatcher smashed our industry and Dave has tried to finish the job. We may be poorer after the referendum but at least we will not have to listen to Bankers lies anymore.

  • rate this

    Comment number 284.

    Scotland becomes financial Independent, .....................and Labour lose over Forty MPs from Scotland giving the Conservatives almost never-ending power in England.


  • rate this

    Comment number 283.


    The Scots will be voting in 2014 whether they want to be independent or not; everything else is for them to decide afterwards in the event of a YES vote. All of the things you mention are not in the gift of the SNP or any other party or sectional interest group. They will be decided by the Scottish people either directly or via their elected representatives. It's hardly rocket science.

  • rate this

    Comment number 282.

    The SNP talk of a suppressed population so lets look at their record: support for Gaddafi and his regime, failure to support the Dalai Lama and the Tibetans, withdrawal from NATO, so they would have sat on their hands over Bosnia, over Pakistan earthquake relief, over Libya (surprise, surprise), and relief in Kosovo - yes, when it comes to helping suppressed populaces their record is abysmal.

  • rate this

    Comment number 281.

    Scotland - yes you would not be governed by Westminster - but would Alex Salmond and Co be any better? Just think about Lockerbie...

  • rate this

    Comment number 280.

    What is the betting that on the day the answer is no... and then what's the betting there will more till they get the answer yes

  • rate this

    Comment number 279.

    Will 16 year old children now be entitled to vote in any election in Scotland hereafter, or is this just a shady Nationalist one-off deal to win a particular vote? Given the Nats newfound desire for involving the young and recalling that the last time Scotland was independent, marriage at age 12 was still permitted, what other new policies might we expect to see in the new Scotland?

  • rate this

    Comment number 278.


    ''...Little England has had its day, Empire, no more, World Policeman, no more. It can't even bat a Tennis Racket,

    Andy does that for US.

    ...- Scotland - The FUTURE!...''

    The best argument yet for independance - because Andy Murray won the US Open - hahaha.

    Is Murray going to pay the all benefits bills for 2 million Glasgwegians (no more westminster subsidies)

  • rate this

    Comment number 277.

    Lots of angry little Englanders here with there potents of doom & gloom and endless questions of how it will all be split up.

    Makes you wonder how they will react to the horrible reality of Scotland's independence.

    You really should be more concerned with the Palace of Westminster and the goings on there. And the sprawling towns full of unemployment & violence. Take a good look in the mirror.

  • rate this

    Comment number 276.

    What happens to the union flag? Will the cross of St. Andrew be removed from it?
    How about referenda to ask the English if they want independance from Scotland in particular, also Wales and Ireland. Let the other two countries hold their own referenda, all to be held on the same day.
    Let's get the whole issue out of the way and set up an Independance Day celebration.
    I can't wait.

  • rate this

    Comment number 275.

    Just think - with Scottish independence, no Heathrow runway extension, no Bojo Island, Trident in the Thames, no London Weighting Allowance - what's not to like?

  • rate this

    Comment number 274.

    When can we in Yorkshire have independence from the South of England and its repressive unrepresentitive government WE WANT OUR FREEDOM IN THE YORKSHIRE REPUBLIC. The South of England only sees us in Yorkshire as a holiday visit, they destroyed our industry and culture.

  • rate this

    Comment number 273.

    I really, really wish people with no knowledge of this matter or anything serious to add would refrain from commenting here.You're cluttering up the section and it's impossible to answer all your silly statements with the comment limitations here.Spend a weekend researching the matter (there's a marvellous thing called the internet instead of drinking yourselves into a stupour watching X-Factor.


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