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Landslide SNP victory: London will not block referendum on Scottish independence

Monday, May 9th 2011 - 00:56 UTC
Full article 17 comments
First Minister Alex Salmond: referendum would come “well into the second half” of the new five-year parliament. First Minister Alex Salmond: referendum would come “well into the second half” of the new five-year parliament.

UK government will not move to block a referendum on Scottish independence, the Secretary of State for Scotland Liberal Democrat MP Michael Moore has said adding constitutional questions raised about the rights or wrongs of holding a vote would not be raised.

The newly-elected majority SNP Scottish government intends to bring forward a referendum in its five-year term. The Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dems all oppose independence.

SNP picked up seats across Scotland, dealing a devastating blow to Labour and taking huge numbers of votes from the Liberal Democrats. The final results for the Scottish Parliament election have SNP with 69 seats, Labour 37, Conservatives 15, Liberal Democrats 5 and Greens 2. Independent MSP Margo Macdonald was also returned to parliament.

Mr Moore told BBC Scotland's Politics Show it was now up to the SNP to bring forward the referendum, which First Minister Alex Salmond said would come “well into the second half” of the new, five-year parliament.

“I firmly believe the Scottish Parliament, if it so decides, can proceed with a referendum,” Mr Moore said, adding: “There will be the normal electoral rules that have to be followed and it will have to be discussed carefully with the relevant authorities.”

The Scottish secretary added: “We could, I suppose, try to make a constitutional issue about where the powers lie or don't, but I don't think that would be a sensible use of anybody's time.

”If the issue of the day is to decide the future of Scotland within the United Kingdom, then that's more important we have that debate, rather than have a debate about whether or not we can have the debate.“

Rather than the referendum, Mr Salmond has decided to concentrate for the moment on further devolution of powers to Holyrood as part of the Scotland Bill, currently going through Westminster.

The first minister told BBC Scotland his party had received an ”overwhelming mandate“ from the people for ”job-creating powers“, namely control over borrowing, the Crown Estates Commission and corporation tax.

But he added: ”Even if we gained all these things that would give the Scottish Parliament control over approximately 20% of the revenue base of Scotland.

“Independence would give the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish people, control over almost 100% of the revenue base of Scotland.”

Challenged on why the referendum was not being held sooner, Mr Salmond said: “That's the plan we outlined to the Scottish people very clearly in our election campaign - we did so consistently. We've been backed overwhelmingly by the Scottish people on that prospectus.

”So you don't change it now just because you have an overwhelming majority.

“The people have showed faith in the Scottish National Party, and therefore the SNP government will repay that faith and keep faith with the people.”

However FM Salmond promised to take forward de Scottish people’s hopes carefully and make the nation proud, and although the SNP has a majority of the seats, we don’t have a monopoly of wisdom.”

Meanwhile, Labour leader Ed Miliband told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show his party must set out an alternative vision to independence, adding: “I don't think the majority of people in Scotland want independence or separatism.”

Scottish Conservative deputy leader Murdo Fraser called on the UK government to give “very serious consideration” to launching its own referendum on the future of the UK constitution to prevent a “damaging” and long-running debate.

Defence Secretary Liam Fox said: “Whether the result in Scotland was the Scottish voters actually positively having a view on independence is, I think, very much up for debate.”

The Conservative minister told the Sky News Murnaghan program: ”I think it was very much more about Labour having taken voters in Scotland for granted and the old Labour fiefdoms rebelling. (BBC).-
 

Categories: Politics, International.

Top Comments

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  • Marcos Alejandro

    Congratulations Scotland! Please send Justin Kuntz back to England.

    May 09th, 2011 - 05:08 am 0
  • Redhoyt

    Not even the SNP believe that they would win such a referendum .. which is why it's all being postponed for 4 years ... :-)

    Of course if they decided to leave the UK we could become - 'Britannia, Northern Ireland and the British Territories', or even Albion, Northern Ireland and the British Islands”.

    After all, we have islands everywhere :-)

    May 09th, 2011 - 05:28 am 0
  • stick up your junta

    London will not block referendum on Scottish independence

    Pity the argies dont take the hint and drop their spurious claim to the Falklands

    May 09th, 2011 - 05:46 am 0
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