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  1. 2.30pm: MSPs will participate in the Scottish government led debate entitled 'Scotland's Future'.

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Ailsa Brown

All times stated are UK

  1. Post update

    All today's coverage, including first minister's questions and the Scotland's future debate, can be watched at BBC Scotland's Democracy Live website on demand.

  2. Scotland's future

    Well, that brings to an end our coverage of the Scottish Parliament today and indeed our last webcast before we find out what the people of Scotland will decide for the country's future.

    Referendum date

    Voters will be asked the yes/no question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?" on 18 September.

    Yes No:

    We will return on 23 September 2014 with coverage of what will undoubtedly be a fascinating return to Holyood for all the MSPs.

  3. Decision time: Scotland's future debate

    MSPs vote against the amendment from Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, with 47 MSPs voting for it, but with 61 MSPs voting against it.

    Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie's amendment is defeated, with 47 MSPs voting for it and 61 against.

    Johann Lamont, the Scottish Labour leader, saw her amendment defeated, with 47 MSPs voting for it and 61 against.

    The motion from First Minister Alex Salmond is passed by MSPs, 61 to 47.

  4. Deputy first minister

    Ms Sturgeon highlights the "100,000 children being sentenced to a life of poverty" by Westminster or the "billions spent on nuclear weapons while cuts threaten our health service".

    The deputy first minister says it is a "democratic outrage that Scotland is landed time and time again with Tory governments we did not vote for".

    Nicola Sturgeon

    She says Scottish Labour has been "assimilated by the Tories in the No campaign".

    "At the heart of the Yes campaign is a pride in our country but also an ambition to make our country better, independence is not a magic wand but it is an opportunity." Concludes Ms Sturgeon, bringing the debate to a close.

  5. SNP response

    Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon echoes comments praising the late Sam Galbraith.

    Sam Galbraith

    The former neurosurgeon served as both a Labour MP and MSP and held the post of education minister in Scotland's first devolved government.

    "Today marks the moment that this debate formally moves out of this chamber" to the doorsteps, the workplaces and the communities of Scotland says the deputy first minister.

    "I have never known a more vibrant engaged and enthused debate than the one we have now."

  6. Scottish Labour's view

    Labour MSP Drew Smith, closing for his party, says "Scotland will never be the same again whatever the result".

    Mr Smith adds: "The last seven years the government has been, in our view, on pause in preparation" for the referendum.

    "We are committed to putting this parliament back to work in the nations interests whatever the result."

    Drew Smith

    Mr Smith says there is an "enormous risk to the public finances" with independence according to independent analysts and asks about set up costs and why there is "no plan if the currency union, which is not in their gift, is not agreed".

  7. Scottish Conservatives

    Scottish Conservative MSP Gavin Brown calls "for a bit of realism from the Scottish Government" as he claims the likelihood from the independent analysts is that Scotland would be "worse off" than if it remains in the UK.

    Gavin Brown

    Mr Brown says an independent Scotland would begin life in a "weaker position" than the rest of the UK and says that is why the "White Paper only has figures for a single year", which they are using to "separate and break up a 300 year old union".

    "If Institute of Fiscal Studies is right then we would have to have greater austerity in an independent Scotland" than in the UK from Westminster, concludes Mr Brown.

  8. Scottish Liberal Democrats

    Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie says "the UK is seen also as a force for good around the world".

    "Together we have the second largest aid budget in the world." Highlights Mr Rennie, who adds these are "factors the nationalists omit" to mention when they seek to break up the nation.

    "We want the UK to change, I favour home rule within a federal UK."

    Willie Rennie

    Mr Rennie concludes by raising the question of what the currency will be in and independent Scotland.

  9. Scottish Green Party's Holyrood leader Patrick Harvie

    Scottish Green Party's Holyrood leader Patrick Harvie says there is a need to retain the energy and engagement generated by the independence referendum debate, which has been "broad, creative and inclusive", which "Scotland should be proud of".

    Patrick Harvie

    Mr Harvie says the Greens "will never agree with governments who simply want to maximise oil extraction" to the detriment of the environment.

    In closing, he asks his fellow MSPs to remember the plea of the late Margo MacDonald, to "treat one another perhaps as opponents but never as enemies" and calls for the final weeks of the debate to be conducted "in the spirit of friendship this country deserves".

  10. Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie

    Willie Rennie

    Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie says when he heard SNP members "scoffing at Ms Davidson's claim to be Scottish" he "felt disgust" adding he is as proud a Scot as they are.

    "When I cry freedom, its not a cry for national freedom but individual freedom."

    Mr Rennie says the UK is a great platform from which Scots can be whatever they want to be.

    "A No vote is a vote of confidence in the ability of Scots to be all they can be" says the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, concluding that it will provide "a UK base with broad economic shoulders".

  11. Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson

    Ruth Davidson

    Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson starts her speech saying she feels a "sense of loss that I would have at seeing my country broken up before me".

    "Britain is one of the great nations of this earth," argues Ms Davidson, adding it makes a "huge contribution to this planet".

    "The Scotland I love is part of the UK it's been shaped by it and in turn has done the shaping."

    "To leave it is to lose something of ourselves and leave behind something less." She concludes.

  12. Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont

    Johann Lamont

    The Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont opens her speech by repeating that she thinks "Scotland is on pause" due to the referendum, but the vote will decide Scotland's future "once and for all".

    Ms Lamont says independent experts say there will be £6bn cuts to make after a vote for independence.

    She calls for the continuation of a "monetary union with Scottish voices representing us at the heart of government".

    The union had allowed the UK to stand up to fascism, create a welfare state and introduce the NHS according the Scottish Labour leader.

    "We must celebrate what we have in common, not emphasise our differences", she says.

  13. Salmond closes his opening speech

    Mr Salmond says there will be "a powerful legacy from a Yes vote".

    He calls on Scotland to "take the powers we need to create a more prosperous society and a fairer country".

    The first minister insists this will be the "first time ever people of Scotland have democratic control of its destiny".

    "People of Scotland are waking up to the greatest opportunity we will ever have on September the 18th, lets take it. " Insists Mr Salmond

  14. Oil and Gas

    The first minister highlights Scotland's "astonishing natural resources" including renewables and "many billions of barrels of oil for many decades to come".

    Following an intervention from Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald on the government's oil forecasts being to high, Mr Salmond says the equivalent of 15bn to 16.5bn barrels could be taken out up to 2050, with this rising to a total of 24bn in the years after that.

    Oil workers

    The figure of 24bn barrels is quoted in the Scottish government's White Paper on independence as an estimate from industry body Oil and Gas UK.

    However, Sir Ian has claimed there were about 15bn to 16.5bn barrels of recoverable oil left, and that the figure from the White Paper was 45% to 60% too high.

  15. First Minister Alex Salmond

    Alex Salmond

    First Minister Alex Salmond begins the debate saying "in four weeks time the people of Scotland get to decide Scotland's future" and that the "referendum has re-energised politics in Scotland".

    Mr Salmond says: "One of the challenges for all of us after the referendum is to retain that energy."

    He says the debate: "Celebrates our country, our people and our potential."

    "Scotland is one of the world's wealthiest nations, our GDP per head is more than the UK." says the first minister.

  16. Scotland's Future debate: Motion and amendments

    This afternoon sees Scotland's party leaders debate "Scotland's Future.


    It should be a fascinating afternoon and our last chance to see the referendum debate brought into Holyrood's main chamber.

    The motion from the first minister and the amendments from the opposition party leaders are below:

    S4M-10843 Alex Salmond: Scotland's Future-That the Parliament agrees that Scotland is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, is rich in human talent and benefits from vast natural resources; believes that a Yes vote on 18 September 2014 is the opportunity of a lifetime to build a fairer, greener, more prosperous country for everyone who lives in Scotland; agrees that the best people to take decisions about Scotland's future are the people who care most about Scotland, those who live and work here; further agrees that an independent Scotland will protect the founding values of the NHS, build a more secure, sustainable economy with greater job opportunities and will provide parents, children and disabled people with the support expected of a decent society, and agrees therefore that Scotland should be an independent country.

    The Presiding Officer has selected the following amendments

    S4M-10843.1 Johann Lamont: Scotland's Future-As an amendment to motion S4M-10843 in the name of Alex Salmond (Scotland's Future), leave out from first "agrees" to end and insert "looks forward to the democratic decision of the people of Scotland on Scotland's future and recognises that it will be they who determine whether Scotland leaves the United Kingdom or continues to enjoy the benefits of devolved government within the UK; believes that remaining in the UK is best for jobs, best for schools and hospitals, best for business and best for pensions, and that a strong Scottish Parliament, which will gain new powers, backed up by the strength and security of the UK, represents the best of both worlds for Scotland; notes that, if the Scottish people say 'No Thanks' to separation, Scotland will continue as a partner in a political, social, economic and currency union that pools and shares resources with its closest neighbours and friends in England, Wales and Northern Ireland; looks forward to that positive partnership continuing to evolve in the event of a No vote, and resolves to support every effort to unify the country again once the votes have been counted".

    S4M-10843.1.2 Ruth Davidson: Scotland's Future-As an amendment to amendment S4M-10843.1 in the name of Johann Lamont (Scotland's Future), after "within the UK;" insert "is proud of the contribution that Scotland makes to the UK as well as the benefits that it receives; recognises the shared institutions that have grown and developed over time to the benefit of all nations in the UK and is committed to furthering these shared institutions;".

    S4M-10843.1.1 Willie Rennie: Scotland's Future-As an amendment to amendment S4M-10843.1 in the name of Johann Lamont (Scotland's Future), after "both worlds for Scotland;" insert "applauds the ambition of the people of Scotland to reach their individual as well as collective potential in all spheres of life, building on the achievements of Scots over the last 300 years and recognises the array of additional opportunities that they each enjoy as a strong part of the UK family of nations;".

  17. Post update


    Welcome back to BBC Scotland's Democracy Live coverage of the final debate in Holyrood before the independence referendum on 18 September 2014.

  18. Debate closes

    The minister praises the work Glasgow the Caring City do, underpinned by the network of volunteers working tirelessly.

    The Scottish government is determined to continue its international development work and has pledged to enshrine the target of spending 0.7% of national income on overseas aid into law, if there is a yes vote says Mr Yousaf.

    Glasgow the Caring City clothes bin
    Image caption: Glasgow the Caring City clothes bin

    He closes the debate congratulating the charity for its 15 years work and wishes it well for the future.

    And that's all from us until 2:30pm when we will return with the final debate at Holyrood before the independence referendum on 18 September 2014, aptly entitled "Scotland's Future".

  19. Minister's response

    Humza Yousaf

    International Development Minister Humza Yousaf fully endorses Mr Dornan's motion complementing all the work of Glasgow the Caring City over the last 15 years.


    Mr Yousaf praised the Unicef fundraising during the opening ceremony which he says showed of Glasgow as the caring city, the first games ever to raise money like that.

  20. James Dornan

    James Dornan

    SNP MSP James Dornan represents the Glasgow Cathcart constituency, where Glasgow the Caring City is based.

  21. Caring City works across the globe

    The cathedral in Port-au-Prince was destroyed by the quake
    Image caption: The cathedral in Port-au-Prince was destroyed by the quake

    Mr Dornan says Glasgow the Caring City are clear projects they work towards end up self sufficient.

    They assist in rebuilding houses and schools in places like Haiti after the earthquake or post-tsunami Sri Lanka.

    Evidence of the immense destruction wrought by the tsunami still remains
    Image caption: Evidence of the immense destruction wrought by the tsunami seven years ago still remains

    Glasgow the Caring City is a Scottish charity which supports children in crisis here at home and overseas.

    It does so by supporting programmes of health, education and security, while working in partnership with local communities, for a sustainable future.

  22. Celebrating Glasgow the Caring City debate

    Welcome back to Democracy Live's coverage of the proceedings at Holyrood.

    SNP MSP James Dornan is leading a debate on Celebrating Glasgow the Caring City.


    In his motion Mr Doran celebrates the 15th birthday of Glasgow the Caring City in 2014, which is a Scottish charity based in Cathcart that supports children in crisis at home and overseas.

    The charity achieves this aim by supporting a range of health, education and security programmes worldwide, from Give a Kid a Goal campaign for children across Glasgow to helping to fund the Himbaza School in Burundi's capital city, Bujumbara.


    Mr Dornan praises the work that it has done in organising the Celebration City Festival for the Commonwealth Games.

    He also praises the charity's contribution over the last 15 years to children worldwide and thanks it for the work that it does, and wishes it every success as it moves forward with its plans for future development.

  23. Post update

    And that ends the last FMQs before the independence referendum. Next is a debate on "celebrating Glasgow, the caring city".

  24. Post update

    'Protect' NHS

    The first minister says: "I hope that everyone in this chamber understands the need to protect our health service in Scotland."

  25. Post update

    'Inequality gap'

    Mr Eadie says the "health inequality gap" is "far too high" and argues only a publicly funded health service can provide the necessary care.

  26. Post update

    Cancer deaths

    The final question, on cancer mortality rates, is from SNP MSP Jim Eadie.

  27. Post update

    'Surge in support'

    Mr Salmond claims there has been a "surge in support" for protecting the NHS through independence.

  28. Post update

    The Sunday Herald's Paul Hutcheon: Senior @thesnp source: 'This will be one of Salmond's last FMQs.' #indyref

  29. Post update

    'NHS lie'

    Labour Neil Findlay accuses the first minister of "voodoo economics" and says the pro-independence campaign had told a "complete and utter lie" that the NHS would be privatised.

  30. Post update

    'Everything in our power'

    The first minister says the Scottish government will do everything in its power to help the industry.

  31. Post update

    Lisa Gribbin: Irony as @alexsalmond says 'don't misquote, this is an important argument' #FMQs

    Gary Dunion: If the oil is going to run out in an indy Scotland, it's going to run out in the UK too. I know which country I trust most to adapt. #FMQs

    ShredderIsAlive: The Presiding Officer really needs to throw a couple of people out of the chamber if she wants to restore order. #FMQs

  32. Post update

    Ferguson Shipbuilders

    A question from Labour MSP Duncan McNeil about the the financially-stricken Ferguson Shipbuilder in Port Glasgow.

  33. Post update

    'Track record'

    Mr Salmond says Labour and the Conservatives are "doing the same thing" as Westminster which, he claims, has a "track record" of playing down the benefits of oil.

  34. Post update

    Stormy session

    Presiding officer Tricia Marwick is trying to keep order in a stormy question session with lots of noise from MSPs.

  35. Post update

    'Right to know'

    Ms Davidson says Sir Ian was not on a political campaign. "People want to know what is best for their children and their grandchildren," she says.

  36. Post update

    Doug Daniel: I'm #YesBecause I'm fed up of hearing the same question asked by all three unionist leaders at #FMQ

    Jamie Glackin: Very kind of the First Minister to clarify Sir Ian Wood's remarks for him there. #FMQ

    KittyCarrot*: Am I the only person watching #fmqs who thinks it's all just a bit cringe-worthy? Same theatrics and name-calling every week.

  37. Post update

    'Enormous asset'

    Mr Salmond tells Ms Davidson any country would see Scotland's oil reserves as "an enormous asset".

  38. Post update

    'Time to clarify'

    Mr Salmond argues that Sir Ian "wanted to clarify" the oil estimates of 16.5bn barrels by 2050.

  39. Post update

    Ruth Davidson

    Ruth Davidson

    Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson takes over the questioning, also raising Sir Ian Wood's comments.

  40. Post update

    Dave Smith: Ian Wood fed up of "wildly inaccurate misquoting". Read his words yourself. Different picture from Salmond's. … #fmqs

    just me: "Every other country in the world would give their eye teeth for such a substantial resource" -well said @AlexSalmond #FMQs

  41. Post update

    NHS 'protected'

    Mr Salmond returns to an area of attack for the pro-independence campaign: that a referendum "Yes" vote would protect the NHS.

  42. Post update

    'Entirely plausible'

    The first minister repeats that 16.5bn barrels available until 2050 is an "industry estimate" and "entirely plausible".

  43. Post update

    Renewed attack

    Ms Lamont renews her attack on Mr Salmond as "a man without a plan".

  44. Post update

    Diane Duffy: #FMQ does @JohannLamont not realise that there are loads of oilfields not yet discovered and exploited? #VoteYes #indyref

    David Gardiner: "That's a lot of billions!" - there's a man with a clear grasp of the figures. #FMQs

    Anas Hassan: I feel for Sir Ian Wood as he gets dragged into #IndyRef whilst he only offered his own analysis. He's a gentleman. #FMQs

  45. Post update

    'Scotland insulted'

    Ms Lamont says Scotland "doesn't deserve to have its intelligence insulted".

  46. Post update

    'Curse claim'

    The first minister accuses Labour of regarding oil as "a great curse on Scotland".

  47. Post update

    Sir Ian interview

    Mr Salmond tells MSPs Sir Ian said in an interview that 16.5bn barrels was a reasonable estimate.

  48. Post update

    'Not listening'

    Ms Lamont accuses Mr Salmond of not listening to Sir Ian Wood. She asks why Sir Ian "was drawn" to make the comments he did.

  49. Post update

    Lamont attacks

    Johann Lamont

    Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont hits out at the first minister

  50. Post update

    16.5bn barrels

    The first minister claims there are 16.5bn barrels of oil recoverable by 2050.

  51. Post update

    Paul McGeady: You are only an authority if you agree with @AlexSalmond and @YesScotland #indyref #FMQ

    Edward Harkins: The world upside down; Labour champions oil millionaire's contentious & subjective views #FMQs #indyref

    Kirsty Boyle: Loving the number of tartan ties on show at #fmq today #tiewatch

  52. Post update

    'Lifetime' of oil

    Mr Salmond says Sir Ian told Scotland's young people in 2012, "the north sea oil industry will see you through your lifetime".

  53. Post update


    Ms Lamont says Sir Ian is "offering a critique that we must address".

  54. Post update

    BBC reporter James Cook: The Holyrood galleries are packed for the last First Minister's Questions before Scotland's referendum. #indyref #fmqs

    Rachel: Quite willing to bet my house that #FMQs will focus on #oilandgas after Sir Ian Wood's intervention yesterday #indyref

    Ray McRobbie: First Minister's Questions coming up at midday. Just think, this'll be the last time we see Johann Lamont before the #indyref vote! #FMQs

  55. Post update

    First minister's questions

    And we're off. As usual, Labour leader Johann Lamont gets to put the first set of questions.

  56. Post update

    Salmond stands

    Alex Salmond

    First Minister Alex Salmond on his feet.

  57. Post update

    Currency report

    The Adam Smith Institute has produced a report arguing Scotland could use the pound successfully without the UK's permission and without the Bank of England as central bank.

  58. Post update

    Currency row

    The currency argument has rumbled on since. The latest intervention has come from free market think tank the Adam Smith Institute.

  59. Post update

    Plan B

    Last week the first minister faced pressure from Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem leaders to set out a "Plan B" if the UK government did not agree a currency union with an independent Scotland.

  60. Post update

    General questions is still underway. Alex Salmond will face MSPs at noon.

  61. Post update

    Final FMQs

    This is the last question session with Alex Salmond before Scotland votes in the referendum on independence next month.

  62. Post update


    Greetings from Aiden James, Andrew Black and Martin Currie from BBC Scotland politics, bringing you live coverage of first minister's questions.

  63. General Questions

    Here is a list of the questions expected to be asked at general question time:

    1. SNP MSP Jamie Hepburn: To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of the recent comments by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions regarding further changes to welfare benefits and the impact that these changes would have on poverty in Scotland. (S4O-03481)

    2. Independent MSP John Finnie: To ask the Scottish Government what methods of consultation it uses to gauge the views of cyclists regarding major trunk road works. (S4O-03482)


    3. SNP MSP Jim Eadie: To ask the Scottish Government whether it will confirm the latest total annual service charge payable by NHS Lothian to Consort Healthcare for the most recent financial year in relation to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. (S4O-03483)

    4. SNP MSP Dennis Robertson: To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to strengthen and grow the economy. (S4O-03484)

    5. Scottish Conservative Alex Fergusson: To ask the Scottish Government when it last met Dumfries and Galloway Council and what matters were discussed. (S4O-03485)

    6. SNP MSP Kevin Stewart: To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to recent reports that the North Sea could hold more than £40 billion worth of unforeseen oil reserves. (S4O-03486)

    7. SNP MSP Gil Paterson: To ask the Scottish Government what analysis it has carried out on the cumulative impact of UK Government reductions in benefits on disabled people in Scotland. (S4O-03487)

    8. SNP MSP Colin Keir: To ask the Scottish Government whether a review has been carried out on how effective the Queensferry Crossing consultation forums have been in dealing with local groups and people. (S4O-03488)

    Queensferry Crossing

    9. SNP MSP Christian Allard: To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the most recent labour market statistics from the Office for National Statistics. (S4O-03489)

    10. SNP MSP Richard Lyle: To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking regarding the provision of a specialist centre for robot-assisted surgery for radical prostatectomies. (S4O-03490)

  64. Welcome

    Good morning and welcome to BBC Scotland's Democracy Live coverage of the final day of parliamentary sitting before the independence referendum on 18 September 2014.

    It should be a fascinating day with first minister's questions at the main focus as usual on a Thursday.

    Scottish Parliament

    In the afternoon the government will lead a debate aptly entitled "Scotland's Future".

    But first up will be general questions, beginning at 10am.