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 732.

    Why are only those people resident in Scotland being allowed to vote. This referendum is about the break up of the United Kingdom so surely all citizens of the UK should be allowed to vote, subject to age.

  • rate this

    Comment number 731.

    Some reasons to vote no: Greater say on the world stage, better position to bargain with other countries, greater defense / security

    Some reasons to vote yes: Scotland would be better off financially (92% of oil revenue for 8% of the number of people), government would be more locally based and more likely to match the wishes of Scots

  • rate this

    Comment number 730.


    "My god, you really don’t know what you are talking about, do you?England wouldn’t be entitled to a penny of the revenue as those oil fields wouldn’t be in England’s EEZ."

    /Sigh. Tax advantages can be made to move onshore operations. While a sum would be payable for extraction, the money is in production, which could take place elsewhere. Such pipelines already exist.

  • rate this

    Comment number 729.

    @ 681.Archie Gemmill_s left foot

    "Most Scotch are good eggs."

    Yeah, haggis so :-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 728.

    The difference between Scotland and England is take the man flown from Glasgow to London the other day for treatment for Congo Fever last week - medical staff in London tried thier best to help a fellow human being. Had things been the other way round - expect to hear calls of - of "my God he's English". Scotland should be ashamed as how far they have been succerred into this old formula to power

  • rate this

    Comment number 727.

    Who is paying for the referendum? I hope it's not coming out of English pockets.

  • Comment number 726.

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

  • Comment number 725.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 724.

    700. Martin Connolly
    International practice will determine that the successor state will be ‘residual UK’. An obvious precedent is how Russia became the USSR’s successor state.

  • rate this

    Comment number 723.

    "the misconception that we in the SE subsidise Scotland could not be further from the truth". No one can give an accurate figure on whether Scotland receives subsidies or pays into the exchequer. GERS, which is frequently used by the SNP to prove that Scotland pays its way is as fatally flawed as the Barnett Formula.
    700.Martin Connolly
    Scotland won't get EU membership. rUK will.

  • rate this

    Comment number 722.

    Thankyou 693.Al-S 696.Avalon 699.Wicked_Witch &689.Fred Bloggs
    its good to see we are thinkng about what impact this could have on England as well as Scotland beyond the mereley financial.

    I think we should keep all 800 peers to let the Scots have a clean slate to start.
    I suspect the SNP will want an earlier date with agreements on financial wrangling to follow by agreed times.

  • rate this

    Comment number 721.

    Does that maen Peter Capaldi can't work for the BBC any more? That would be a disaster! Malcom Tucker is the best politican this country's had for decades!

  • rate this

    Comment number 720.

    to Sidney Monroe.Scotch only comes in a bottle.

  • rate this

    Comment number 719.

    People may not agree with my opinion - SO DOES IT HELP IF I PUT IT IN ANGRY CAPITALS?

  • rate this

    Comment number 718.

    "Martin Connolly
    your UN security council point. I'm not sure that's true. Like with EU membership rights, these applied to the entity of the UK as it was when signed."

    There is a precedent: the breakup of the USSR. The Russian Federation kept the UN Security Council seat of the USSR despite the USSR being the entity that was granted (or seized) it in the first place.

  • rate this

    Comment number 717.


    and you'd be wrong, there are foob banks, the Trussel trust has 6 and is plnning on more by the end of the year.

  • rate this

    Comment number 716.

    The UK Govt in Westminster is meekly acceding to the demands of a portion of roughly 10% of the UK population to break up the Kingdom of Great Britain. The establishment of the regional Parliament in Edinburgh was never intended to lead to this. It is tragic and a scandal that this is being allowed to happen. In a troubled world now is not the time to be doing this. Signed: A Scot, born and bred.

  • rate this

    Comment number 715.

    So are you postulating war... Is anyone backing your war-like attitude? No.

    710.Fred Bloggs
    Because we have a Scottish parliament with the ability to create elections. And its a Scottish matter because we have a Scottish parliament with the ability to create elections, for Scottish people, not for you, because you DON'T live in Scotland. Clear enough?


  • rate this

    Comment number 714.

    @591. Tricky4a
    You seriously believe 90% of Scottish residents are on benefits? Really? I can see how the false argument that London pays for Scotland (rather than the reality that the opposite is true) gained so much Goebbelsesque credence.

  • rate this

    Comment number 713.

    703.Some Lingering Fog
    But surely 679 didn't mean MSPs, but the Scots members of the Westminster Parliament. And there is a reasonable point to be considered there. It IS daft that Scottish Westminster MPs should have a say in English and Welsh education, but no say whatever in their own country's.


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