Skip to site navigation

Press Release: Uncertainties in SNP White Paper strengthen argument for second referendum

26 November 2013

Commenting on the launch of the Scottish government’s independence White Paper, the director of UCL’s Constitution Unit Professor Robert Hazell made two points.

The timetable is realistic

‘The 18 month timetable for negotiations between September 2014 and March 2016 is reasonable, and realistic.  If Scotland votes Yes, the UK government will have to negotiate in good faith, and with all due speed.  Both governments will need to identify the big issues to be resolved before independence; a lot of smaller things can be left until afterwards. 

The Czech-Slovak divorce took just six months to negotiate, from July 1992 to January 1993. But it required 31 Treaties and 12000 legal agreements to effect the separation.  Many of the agreements were still being negotiated years later’.

If the White Paper cannot be delivered, a second referendum might be needed

‘This is an aspirational White Paper.  Some of the most important questions – membership of the EU, of NATO, keeping the pound, sharing other services with the UK – are not within the gift of the Scottish government, but depend on others.  We will not know until the negotiations are concluded whether the Scottish government can deliver all it hopes. 

If the White Paper turns out to have been a false prospectus, there is a strong case for offering a second referendum in March 2016. The terms of independence will then be known.  They may be very different from the aspirations of 2014.  In the second referendum the people of Scotland could then be asked, Do you still want independence on these terms?’

Notes for Editors

  • The Constitution Unit produced a book, Scottish Independence: A Practical Guide, by Jo Murkens and Peter Jones (Edinburgh University Press, 2002).  It advocated two referendums: the first on the principle of independence, to trigger the negotiations; the second once the terms of independence were known.
  • The Constitution Unit is an independent and non-partisan research centre based in the Department of Political Science at University College London.

Join the Debate

Blog

News

UK constitutional reform: No means Yes?

Mon, 22 Sep 2014 10:00:16 +0000

Although a Yes vote would have meant a very obvious change to the existing constitutional structure of the UK, the consequences of the No vote will still be complex and profound. The outcome has already put contentious issues such as the West Lothian question back on the agenda, writes Meg Russell. This article originally appeared in the Observer. […]

Read more...

Scotland has voted decisively to stay – now devolution must be delivered

Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:00:49 +0000

Today’s result came as a relief to many but it is not an excuse for complacency. Jim Gallagher writes that both Westminster and Holyrood must consider the lessons learned from the campaign and start delivering politics for Scotland, not just about Scotland. Well it’s over. 2 years of campaigning. 5 years of shadowboxing before that. Acres of […]

Read more...

Will the polls get the Scottish referendum right?

Thu, 18 Sep 2014 07:00:01 +0000

As the Scots goes to the polls Anthony Wells considers to what extent we can expect the outcome to match the predictions. The Scottish polls at the end of last week and the weekend were broadly clustered around a small No lead. Perhaps a more likely route to a YES victory is if the polls […]

Read more...
Mailing List

Connect with us

RSSFlickr

Footer menu