Scottish independence: STV confirm Darling and Salmond TV debate date

Salmond and Darling STV will host a live TV debate with Better Together's Alistair Darling and First Minister Alex Salmond

A televised referendum debate between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling will go ahead next month after a dispute over dates was settled.

Broadcaster STV confirmed the head-to-head would take place on 5 August.

First Minister Mr Salmond will put the case for Scottish independence and Mr Darling, chairman of Better Together, will argue for the UK to stay together.

The date was agreed on Wednesday afternoon following weeks of wrangling between the two sides.

The people of Scotland will go to the polls on 18 September when they will be asked the "Yes/No" question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

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Scotland Decides
  • A referendum on whether Scotland should become independent is to take place
  • People resident in Scotland will be able to take part in the vote, answering the "yes/no" question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"
  • The referendum will take place on Thursday 18 September, 2014
  • Go to the BBC's Scotland Decides page for analysis, background and explainers on the independence debate.
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Ahead of the vote, STV had been negotiating with the rival campaigns over a live leader debate.

The two sides failed to agree on an initial 16 July proposal, and then there was a fall-out over a revised offer of 5 August.

Mr Salmond had wanted to debate with Prime Minister David Cameron on the commercial station in July. But Better Together said it had agreed with STV that former Labour chancellor Mr Darling would be going up against the SNP leader.

Negotiations stalled and the pro-Union camp went on to criticise the Glasgow-based broadcaster for "repudiating" the July date and suggesting 5 August.

Deal finalised

However, both sides resumed discussions and have finalised the debate deal.

A spokesman for Mr Salmond said: "We accepted this invitation weeks ago and are delighted that Alistair Darling has finally done likewise and accepted the challenge of debating with the first minister on live TV, in front of a large audience of voters.

"Mr Darling will be acting as a shield for the prime minister - who we will continue to pursue for a debate - and as such he will be defending the Tory policies of David Cameron's government."

A spokesman for Better Together said: "We are delighted that there will be a live, televised debate between the leaders of both campaigns.

"Alex Salmond will now finally have to answer questions on the pound, pensions and public services that he has spent the last two years dodging."

The two-hour live TV debate, to be hosted by STV political editor Bernard Ponsonby, will be broadcast in front of a 350-strong audience from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow.

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Scotland Decides: SCOTLAND VOTES NO

  1. No 2,001,926
  2. Yes 1,617,989
After 32 of 32 counts Results in detail

Referendum Live

  1.  
    Text 80295 08:54: Referendum - Get Involved

    Stuart from Fife: I just wish people would be more patient and realistic. It's only been a couple of days since the vote, the country has voted No and all the moaning and groaning will never change the will of the people. Everybody was sick and tired of all the stress caused by this vote, let's move on and give the politicians breathing space to carry out the job in hand!

    Stevie, Motherwell: I knew the 3 main leaders would go back on their word to Scotland. Gordon Brown had no right promising what he couldn't keep too. It was a devo-trap and I voted Yes.

    Danny: I voted No, I don't care about devo.

    Ryan McArthur, Rothesay, Bute: The promise will not be kept, independence is unstoppable and Scotland will be independent within 15 years.

     
  2.  
    08:45: Referendum reaction Louise White Presenter, Morning Call

    An argument has erupted between Labour and the Conservatives surrounding the timetable for further devolved powers to be granted to Scotland following a 'No' vote in the referendum.

    David Cameron says that he also wants constitutional change for England with English MPs only to vote on English Laws and Ed Miliband feels that this shouldn't be attached to The Vow made to Scotland.

    Alex Salmond, meanwhile, has claimed that this shows Westminster is trying to renege on the deal.

    Do you have faith that Westminster will deliver on 'The Vow'?

    Get in touch using 0500 92 95 00 or text 80295.

    You can listen live to the programme here.

     
  3.  
    08:33: Devolution commitments 'will be honoured'

    Shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran insists the political parties will honour their pledge to deliver more power to Scotland.

    The pledge, made by David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg ahead of the referendum, has three parts and also commits to preserving the Barnett funding formula.

    Alex Salmond has accused the three UK party leaders of "reneging" on the pledge.

    The first part of the agreement promises "extensive new powers" for the Scottish Parliament "delivered by the process and to the timetable agreed" by the three parties.

    The second says the leaders agree that "the UK exists to ensure opportunity and security for all by sharing our resources equitably".

    Margaret Curran

    The third "categorically states" that the final say on funding for the NHS will lie with the Scottish government "because of the continuation of the Barnett allocation for resources, and the powers of the Scottish Parliament to raise revenue".

    "I can absolutely guarantee that the commitments we made during the campaign will be honoured," the shadow Scottish secretary told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland.

    "They [the Conservatives] can give that guarantee and I think they have given that guarantee. That's my understanding of what they've been saying all weekend.

    "What is clear and people should be assured about are those categoric assurances we have from all the parties that were part of this."

     
  4.  
    Text 80295 08:25: Referendum - Your Views

    Anon: We were not tricked Mr Salmond, we voted NO because you did not have answers to the big important questions.

    Robert, Glasgow: Westminster will do what keeps the rest of the UK, their main electorate happy. They don't want to see more power go to Scotland so it won't happen. 1.6 million voices in Scotland will increase to 2.6 surely!

    Janine, East Lothian: Those who voted No did so for a range of reasons. What is clear in speaking to my family and friends is that many were unsure about full independence and were attracted by the devo-max we were promised at the last minute. If they don't deliver devo-max, surely the legitimacy of the whole referendum falls apart?

     
  5.  
    08:10: What the papers say

    The Herald leads with a claim that Alex Salmond has argued that Scotland could achieve independence without another referendum.

    Newspapers

    The Daily Record says a "rattled" David Cameron has been forced to make a "no ifs, no buts" commitment to more powers for Scotland.

    The Scotsman says the leaders of the three main UK parties are at odds over the delivery of further devolution.

    Read our newspaper round-up here.

     
  6.  
    Text 80295 07:58: Referendum - Your Views

    Martin, Glasgow: I don't think a single person in Scotland wants the West Lothian Question to remain. We understand fairness. Why, then, is fixing it supposedly the reason for the collapse of the great Scottish bribe off?

    Lorna, Glasgow: These tax proposals are exactly what Better Together objected to for independence: cross border, tax etc. We should have had more info on this before the referendum.

    Anon: Nicola Sturgeon for first minister... mon the Irn Bru Lady.

     
  7.  
    07:53: PM has 'muddied the waters'

    David Cameron has "muddied the waters" on devolved powers in the wake of Scotland's referendum vote, according to a Labour MP.

    Graham Allen, the MP for Nottingham North and chairman of the House of Commons political and constitutional reform committee, said the prime minister should deal with devolution for England separately.

    Labour MP Graham Allen

    "Promises were made by all the union parties; they have to be honoured and they will be honoured," Mr Allen told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme.

    "What's confusing people is the prime minister, threw in on Friday morning, that he wanted to look at English MPs and English votes.

    "I think that's muddied the waters and everyone would be happier if those issues were dealt with separately.

    "That won't compromise any promises that were made by those parties last week before the [referendum] vote took place.

    "There is a separate issue, which is very important, which is Scotland, through their fantastic democratic adventure of the referendum, has raised devolution for everyone else in the union.

    "Really, we just need to be honest about this. We're going to have, at some point, a federal parliament and system in the UK."

     
  8.  
    Text 80295 07:40: Referendum - Get Involved

    Anon: UK parties letting Scotland down already; we've had broken promises before. Will we ever learn?

     
  9.  
    07:34: Salmond claims voters were 'tricked'

    "No" voters in last week's independence referendum were "tricked" by a late vow of more devolved powers, according to Alex Salmond.

    Salmond, who is stepping down as Scotland's first minister, accused the three UK party leaders of "reneging" on the pledge they made days before Thursday's referendum which he claimed won the "No" vote.

    Alex Salmond

    No 10 dismissed his claims, as the three parties continue to disagree over handling the process of devolution.

    Voters in Scotland rejected independence by 55% to 45%.

     
  10.  
    haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk 07:25: Referendum - Your Views

    John Mason, Falkirk: Surely the big problem for the Tories is convincing their back-benchers that nothing is being given away to Scotland under increased powers, without letting the cat out the bag to those poor Scottish voters who misguidedly switched? While it's proposed the Barnett Formula remains, alas all new tax-raising powers are deducted from it. Hence, 'devo max' only works for Scotland if the new tax-raising powers exceed the Barnett block grant, and that's not likely to happen! Yes, Mr Brown, you can fool most of the people most of the time, you just did it!

    Ian: How dare you Alex! The people have spoken - let us do what we as a people and nation have done so well! Keep the heid, respect the democratic process and, aye, be humble. We helped create the modern world that way.

     
  11.  
    07:18: West Lothian Question David Porter Westminster correspondent

    Here in Manchester [Labour Party conference] there's a palpable sense of relief at the result of the referendum vote. Most delegates enthusiastically back the idea of more powers for Scotland but many, particularly from Labour's English heartlands, want further devolution for their areas too.

    A growing number also believe that the West Lothian Question, concerning the voting rights and responsibilities of Scottish MPs, also needs to be looked at.

    The conference will get the chance to make its feelings about Scotland known this afternoon when the Scottish leaders address delegates in their formal report on Scotland.

    The shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran will say that the Labour Party must reach out to people who voted Yes across Scotland last week and assure them that real change is coming.

     
  12.  
    Text 80295 07:10: Referendum - Get Involved

    Anon: Surely English people have some entitlement too? I feel Scots MPs should be banned from voting on English-only issues. In return, then Scotland will get some more powers. Let's hope the Scots don't feel that somehow they're more worthy then all others, they're not.

     
  13.  
    07:04: Commons voting rights limited?

    David Cameron is hosting a summit of senior Conservative MPs at Chequers to discuss plans to limit the Commons voting rights of Scottish MPs.

    The prime minister has said a pledge to give Scotland more powers should go hand in hand with changing the role of Scottish politicians at Westminster.

    Alex Salmond (left) and David Cameron

    However, Labour leader Ed Miliband is opposed to linking the two issues.

    The three main parties pledged more devolution during the campaign to encourage Scots to reject independence.

     
  14.  
    07:01: Labour 'reaches out' to 'Yes' voters

    Labour aims to reach out to supporters who voted for independence in last week's referendum.

    Shadow Scottish Secretary Margaret Curran said senior party figures would meet Labour voters who backed independence in last week's referendum.

    Three of the four local authorities where a majority of people voted "Yes" were Labour-controlled.

    And the SNP, Scottish Greens and Scottish Socialist Party say they have recruited many former Labour members.

     
  15.  
    07:00: Thomas McGuigan BBC Scotland News

    Good morning and welcome to today's live page coverage of the latest post-referendum news and analysis.

     

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