UCL News


Press cutting: Two referendums on independence?

26 March 2007

Scotland could face two referendums before achieving independence, constitutional experts predicted yesterday, after Alex Salmond, the leader of the SNP, revealed plans to call a vote by 2010 if his party gets into power.

But because of the limited powers of the Scottish Parliament, the 2010 referendum will be able to ask the Scottish people only if they are willing to begin negotiations on breaking away from Britain - rather than a straight question on whether they are in favour of independence per se.

Academics predicted this will lead to Westminster, which is ultimately in charge of the constitution, calling a further referendum - at additional cost - on whether Britain wants to go ahead with any independence settlement. …

Alan Trench [UCL Constitution Unit] also said a single referendum was unlikely to resolve the issue of Scotland's future. He said a second referendum could be called on whether an agreed independence settlement should go forward.

"I think a single referendum would be bad practice and undesirable from the point of view of the Scottish people because it means they do not actually know whether independence will come or not, and under what terms. It gives too much power to the government to decide these questions and not enough to the people. A second referendum would be a better way forward for the UK and for Scotland." …

Louise Gray, 'The Scotsman'