The Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has written to the First Minister Alex Salmond to propose they meet for the next stage of their talks on how Scotland’s two governments can work together and deliver a legal, fair and decisive referendum.
The UK Government’s own consultation on the referendum ended in March and Mr Moore said that with both consultations now closed the time was right for constructive talks to resume.
The Scottish Secretary said he was confident an agreement could be reached.
Mr Moore said:
“The Scottish Government will want some time to consider the responses it has received, and that is of course right.
“But with both consultations now closed, and so many of the arguments well-aired and understood, I believe it is right that we resume our discussions in the next few weeks.
“Responses to our own consultation gave strong backing to Scotland’s two governments working together to deliver a legal, fair and decisive referendum. I am confident that we can get that done.
“From my meetings with the First Minister earlier in this process, I know that the Scottish Government is supportive of a Section 30 Order, approved by the UK and Scottish Parliaments, to put the referendum on a sound legal footing. Both governments are also clear that there should be a single question, that the Scottish Parliament franchise should be used, and that the process should be overseen by the Electoral Commission.
“In the four months since I published our referendum consultation there has been a good and healthy debate about the terms on which it should take place.
“But with important matters including the economy and job creation high on the public agenda, Scots now expect their two governments to work positively and constructively to resolve the process issues on the referendum and move on to the great debate on Scotland’s future and the vote itself.
“I look forward to sitting down soon with the First Minister and finding a way forward.”