The UK and Scottish Governments have today agreed that for the Scottish Government to keep to their own referendum timetable a Section 30 Order must be approved by the February Privy Council.
Before the Privy Council can consider the Section 30 Order it must be approved by both the UK and Scottish Parliaments. Agreeing the terms of the Order in October would allow both Governments to introduce and debate the detail of the Order in their respective Parliaments and seek their approval in time for the February Privy Council. The Scottish Government have promised to introduce a referendum Bill in “early 2013”.
Scotland Office Minister David Mundell met with Scottish Government Minister Bruce Crawford in Edinburgh today and assured him that the UK Government is committed to working hard towards an agreement on the basis of the indicative timetable discussed at the meeting and expressed his view that agreement between the two governments by October is realistic and achievable.
Following the meeting at the Scottish Parliament, David Mundell said:
“This is a positive step forward. We kicked off this process back in January. The issues have not changed in the past eight months and we really need to use the next two months to ensure we deliver a referendum that is legal, fair and decisive.
“I am very confident that an agreement can be struck. We all agree that a Section 30 Order is the best way to deliver a legal referendum. All the main political parties agree that a single question on independence is what they prefer.
“We want to make it legal for the Scottish Parliament to hold an independence referendum. That is our objective. From this starting point, and the goodwill we are bringing to the process, agreement between the two governments by October is realistic and achievable.
“I hope the First Minister will now respond positively to the Scottish Secretary’s most recent offer to discuss these matters.”