Referendum deal for Scottish independence signed
A deal has been signed by Prime Minister David Cameron and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond setting out the terms for a referendum on Scottish independence.
The two leaders confirmed today in Edinburgh that a single Yes/No question on whether Scotland should leave the UK will be posed to the Scottish public in the autumn of 2014.
Mr Salmond, leader of the SNP, ensured a mandate to hold the referendum after a landslide Scottish election victory in 2011.
The deal, which has been worked on for the past few months, will also allow 16 and 17 year olds to take part in the vote.
The UK government holds responsibility over constitutional issues, but will grant limited powers to the Scottish Parliament to hold a referendum.
The deal grants a statutory order to be legislated by Westminster which will allow the Scottish Parliament Holyrood to hold a single-question referendum.
The possibility of a second question on greater powers for Scotland has been dropped.
Whatever the consequences of the referendum, the agreement will see both governments working closely together in the interests of the Scottish people.
The First Minister Mr Salmond said, “The agreement will see Scotland take an important step toward independence, and the means to create a fairer and more prosperous Scotland. I look forward to working positively for a 'yes' vote in 2014.”
Mr Cameron said: “This marks the beginning of an important chapter in Scotland’s story and allows the real debate to begin.”