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 332.

    Looking on the bright side!
    If Scotland gain independance and join Europe fully it wont cost as much to go on a fag run or a booze cruise! :-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 331.

    I note that both the SNP and Westminster seem to have won on the format of the ballot paper. Westminster has won inasmuch as the ballot paper will have a single question. It is not stated as yet how the SNP has won but could it be that the ballot paper will only have a single box for the answer?

  • rate this

    Comment number 330.

    So Royal Bank of Scotland and Bank of Scotland are both South-East companies! Funny that they're registered and headquartered in Scotland. I suggest before you shout 'Rubbish' from the ramparts you view Salmond's BBC interview or Economist interview on his 8% claim and how oil claims are reliant on one interpretation.
    Who will vote yes without this critical issue resolved?

  • rate this

    Comment number 329.


    So you are inclined to vote on something purely for petty, childish reasons?

    Luckily you don't get to have a vote on this.

    You are the worst type of nationalist, the one who only wants to destroy other nations and not improve on them.

    And consequently, you have the England you have now...
    Insular, war-like, jingoistic & fearful.

    More reason for independence away from your type.

  • rate this

    Comment number 328.

    It's all about self-respect. The same as enjoyed by other nations. Scots have a right to control their own destiny, to decide on whether to bail out bankers or to follow the example of Iceland; to decide on whether to use the oil, gas and renewables to the benefit of the people of the country or to squander these resources in wars, Trident and in prosecuting US foreign policy as has the UK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 327.

    5 Minutes ago
    ..,If we accept your argument, that the EU rules the UK removing the superfluous level of Government, London, is a good thing to do.

    You have it in one. The English might then get to decide their fate too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 326.

    3 Minutes ago
    If Scotland was a drag on the UK, Westminster would have cut them loose years ago. ...........

    The ironic point is that Westminster has no mechanism for "cutting" Scotland loose. Only the Scots & foreign students and other non Brits living there have that option. Other Brits have NO say whatsoever.

    Not very democractic is it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 325.

    I wish people would stop clinging to the notion that Scotland wants to leave the union as a slight on the English. My partner is English, I love the English. I want my country, Scotland, to be governed by Scots, with their interests in Scotland and not just London. I want my country to keep the things about it which are truly great. Free education, prescriptions, free elderly care etc

  • rate this

    Comment number 324.

    I've noticed on all of yor posts you always use the phrase "little Englanders" - I would argue it is you and your fellow SNP supporters who are the parochial ones - The idea that somehow you will become more akin to Norway is economic and Political suicide. Scotland is a great country its just a shame that its been ruined by racism and bigotry towards the English

  • rate this

    Comment number 323.

    Good, then we can have one on the EU after.

  • rate this

    Comment number 322.

    Regardless of what country you come from.... Have a thought about it, would you like another country from your own handling all the important decisions?

    I believe the countries in the U.K should all be separate and work together when required, like what happens in good business.....

    one other thing If Scotland goes free it would allow English government to focus in on it's own affairs!

  • rate this

    Comment number 321.

    No more foreign wars, Westminster lies, City corruption, Elitist Policies and no more Tories. EVER. I can't wait for Independence, we will see how long the English put up with the Tories once he no longer has Scotland to blame for high taxes. It will also be nice to go abroad on a Scottish Passport and not be judged by the actions of Little Englander Dave.

  • rate this

    Comment number 320.

    Reading some of the absolutely moronic statements from my own countrymen has really darkened my feelings towards them (and they were already pretty negative). Let's be honest what chance have we got of ruling ourselves succesfully if the majority of the population can't take the tiny amount of time required to research the debate in-depth. Utter morons, I truly wish I'd been born elsewhere.

  • rate this

    Comment number 319.

    Salmond has been allowed to wave this stick for far too long. He knows his electorate aren't dumb enough to vote for independence, and wants to use the implied threat as a bargaining chip to screw a better deal out of Westminster.

    Let's get on with it and make a decision.

  • rate this

    Comment number 318.

    I envy Scotland. At least they have a choice about whether to boot out this lousy English government or not. We English are stuck with them until 2015!

  • rate this

    Comment number 317.

    "278. TheBladesman

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

    "2 Million Glasgwegians", obviously you do not know Glasgow.
    From the rest of your comment its clear your ignorance is not limited to just the topic of Glasgow.

  • rate this

    Comment number 316.

    If a group of nations sharing the same island can’t work together in the common interest then we may as well close up shop now.

    If the Scotland separates and runs to Europe, how can it hope it build a relationship with such nations if it can’t sustain a similar relationship with its closest neighbours?

    Also the last thing Scotland needs right now is to adopt the Euro as it's currency.

  • rate this

    Comment number 315.

    It doesn't seem very rational to break up our union. We have achieved so much together including the industrial revolution and standing on our own against fascism in 1940. Of course there are things like the British empire that we should be less proud of but they do demonstrate the power of our union.

  • rate this

    Comment number 314.

    What is it about Scotland restoring her Independence that the Unionist don't get? However the polls average out at, there are a significant number of people living in Scotland who can see that Scotland's future is dependent on its own self determination. Are their opinions less valid than those vested interests who control the UK?

    Rich or poor, we'll survive, let's face it couldn't be any worse.

  • rate this

    Comment number 313.

    If we accept the tenet of your argument, that the EU increasingly rules the UK"

    And, of course, the tenet of the argument is invalid. The EU sets very few (


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