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On 10 January 2012 the UK government launched a consultation on facilitating a legal, fair and decisive referendum on whether Scotland should leave the United Kingdom.
The Scottish Parliament has power to legislate on matters that are devolved and has no power to legislate on matters that are reserved to the UK Parliament.
The constitution of the UK is one of those reserved matters. It is the UK government’s view that legislation for a referendum brought forward by the Scottish government could be challenged by anyone in court and the Scottish government would lose.
The consultation document on Scotland’s constitutional future sets out options for delivering a legal, fair and decisive referendum.
The consultation closed on 9 March 2012 and received nearly 3,000 responses from businesses, academics, politicians, organisations and individuals. The responses showed strong levels of support for:
- the 2 governments agreeing a section 30 Order to provide the Scottish Parliament with the power to hold a legal, fair and decisive referendum
- a single, clear question on independence
- having the referendum sooner rather than later
- the question reviewed by the Electoral Commission
- using the Scottish Parliament franchise
All the responses to the consultation have been published except where the individual or organisation has asked that their response be treated as confidential.
All responses to the consultation were received by email or by post, as a result all responses could be identified by a single unique identifier: an email or postal address. Only one response per individual was recorded to avoid duplication.