Report: Scottish independence referendum deal

Key points

  • Prime Minister David Cameron and First Minister Alex Salmond met in Edinburgh to sign an agreement about the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.
  • The historic deal paves the way for a referendum to take place in autumn 2014, with a single Yes/No question on Scotland leaving the United Kingdom.
  • The agreement, which has been worked on for the last few months, will see the voter age lowered, allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to take part in the referendum.

Live text

Reporting:

  • Deirdre Kelly 
  • Sandy Murray 
  • Mona McAlinden 

Last updated 15 October 2012

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Hello and welcome to our live text and video coverage of the signing of the deal on the Scottish independence referendum. Prime Minister David Cameron will be in Edinburgh shortly to meet First Minister Alex Salmond. They are expected to formally agree the process by which the historic vote will be held in the autumn of 2014.

STANDARD Information

Brian Taylor, Political editor, Scotland

"The referendum deal between Prime Minister David Cameron and First Minister Alex Salmond has two elements.

  1. "There will be a statutory order to be legislated at Westminster - that will grant Holyrood the power to hold a referendum provided it is a single question on independence and it is held by the end of 2014. The order will also cover issues such as campaign broadcasts and mail shots.
  2. "There will also be a six page Memorandum of Agreement to be signed by the leaders. This will confirm that the details of the referendum will be settled at Holyrood but explain what the two governments intend to happen. It will feature a significant role for the Electoral Commission in advising on the wording of the question and the running of the referendum."

TWEET

The Guardian's Patrick Wintour

tweets: Scottish ref.: pms "most important decision for Scotland for 300 years", but 16-17 year olds only allowed to vote on this, and nothing else.

TWEET

Colin Greene

tweets: I'd love to know how the Westminster government is going to educate/influence Scottish 14 & 15 year olds of today to vote pro-Union in 2014.

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The front pages of Scotland's broadsheet newspapers have all focused on the historic meeting. The Scotsman claims the agreement includes a sunset clause which dictates that the vote will happen before the end of 2014, and The Herald says a mechanism has been found that would give 16-year-olds the right to vote in the referendum.

STANDARD Background

Brian Taylor, Political editor, Scotland

The Liberal Democrats have praised the role played by their Scottish Secretary Michael Moore in brokering the independence referendum deal. Mr Moore concluded the deal in a series of meetings with Nicola Sturgeon, the Deputy First Minister. Willie Rennie, the Scottish Lib Dem leader, said Mr Moore had acted throughout in a "calm, patient and professional" manner.

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Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who helped negotiate the deal, told BBC Scotland the agreement "guarantees a referendum made in Scotland". She said earlier this year the prime minister had wanted to dictate the timing of the vote, the question and the franchise. She said none of these things will now happen. "I think it's good we've got an agreed process that will lead to an outcome that can be respected by all sides," she said.