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 312.

    it's fine if this is what Scotland really want.
    Positives for England, our students can then go to Scotland for free university education
    Negatives, when Leftie Salmond messes the Scottish economy up like Brown messed the UK economy up, all the Scots will still be able to move to England to take our jobs.
    Such is life.

  • rate this

    Comment number 311.

    Why don't they save tax payers' money and don't bother with this farce- look who is negotiating for the govt - a Literal Doormat - who will say and do anything to please his Masters at No10.

  • rate this

    Comment number 310.

    277Winston Smith
    Lots of angry little Englanders here with there potents of doom & gloom and endless questions of how it will all be split up.

    One side of me wants Scot Independence just for the satisfying, "Told you so" in 3-5 years time, but clearly my head says that would be cruel and expensive for Britain to start bailing out both Ireland & Scotland...

  • Comment number 309.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 308.

    Err no 31% in 2001 after the first few years of 97 when Blair and NuLabour are on record as saying that they had adopted and maintained the previous Tory spending plans - and 52.5% in '09!!
    I'm no Tory but the facts are irrefutable irrespective of the spin we see on a daily basis from Balls and his mates! The left need to 'man up' and apologise for their past fiscal incompetence!

  • rate this

    Comment number 307.

    286.Trout Mask Replica
    Good for you. Norway has substantially higher tax rates which I guess you will adopting (so your income tax will go up by 8%) and a pint of beer is about £6.50. Can't wait for beer to rise to that price in Scotland so you can be the new Norway.

  • Comment number 306.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 305.

    It is time to stop Scotlands MP's voting in the House of Commons when English MP's cannot vote in the Scotland Parliament

    To achieve that one needs to remove Scottish affairs from the House of Commons so they have nothing relevant to vote on & can legitimately be dispensed with, presumably moving them to the Scottish parliament. Sounds like you're aguing for independance to me

  • rate this

    Comment number 304.

    I cannae wait to send the leaching Windsors packing. Nae more holidays at Balmoral or Holyrood. The we will have all the land back her ancestors stole and send the English aristocrats back.
    - I am having a kilt tailored for 2014 as a mark of pride - We will stand tall as one of the strongest European Nations and will have their respect and admiration.

    -And nay mare ridiculous Anthem tae sing!

  • rate this

    Comment number 303.

    What rubbish the waters around Scotland are Scottish so they should get the lions share of the oil revenue.Plus if I were Scottish I would vote to leave Southern Englands Debt behind. It is not their Debt it is the South of Englands DEBT. Plus they should get any defence assets that have been based in Scotland for the last ten years.

  • rate this

    Comment number 302.

    When those Scots eligible to vote on it vote No, will Alex Salmond finally shut up?

  • rate this

    Comment number 301.

    I live in England, but would say I'm British before English.

    As such I'm immensly proud to belong to the country that includes Scotland, a place that has contributed far more to enlightenment, progress and civilisation, than its relative size would lead one to expect.

    AS's egoistic divisiveness is an affront to the outward-looking traditions of his nation, I'd say.

  • rate this

    Comment number 300.

    Will the Scottish Independence referendum be like the Irish vote on the Lisbon Treaty?

    Will they have to keep voting until they get it "right"?

  • rate this

    Comment number 299.

    This is something of a FARCE and an insult to democracy.

    Students studying in Scotland who are not even British can vote but Scots who are living in England can NOT! Such students have a say in how the UK might change.

    Give ALL Brits (and only Brits) the right to decide - it affects all of us.

    If I had a vote it would be a YES.

  • rate this

    Comment number 298.

    What have you got to lose by leaving this (near nazi) sorry conservative state.

  • rate this

    Comment number 297.

    London would be Bankrupt if it wre a country in its own right,as it is Every other region of UK has to foot the bill and its no surprise Large areas of England want out of the cold grip of London.Its a crying shame.

  • rate this

    Comment number 296.

    The BBC certainly like to constantly stir the pot on this issue, how many HYS debates on this have we had now?

    They all go the same way, nationalists from all regions of the UK vent their spleens & distract attention away from the most disastrous Government the UK has had since the year .

    Last time I pointed this out my comment was moderated out, good to see free speech still exists at the BBC

  • rate this

    Comment number 295.

    Whilst I agree with it in principle, my main concern would be the will of the Scots to make it work. It's not just a case of nice idea, let's vote for it then expect everyone else to make it a success. The real work begins if we become independent, and I'm afraid I see too many people unwilling to help themselves to give me confidence that we could go it alone.

  • rate this

    Comment number 294.

    Are there any comments open on the BBC Scotland pages that are not actually done as UK stories ?.

  • rate this

    Comment number 293.

    264. RobinTheBoyWonder

    I'm English and live in Wales - the Welsh don't get it so good.

    We have been used as a test-bed for various policies (council tax revaluation for example), which have then NOT been rolled out after negative effects.


    If only Wales had a devolved Labour administration......


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