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Independence Referendum Consultation
by Adam Clarke - 10:57 on 17 February 2012
Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael is encouraging people in the Isles to have their say on Scotland’s constitutional future as part of the UK government’s consultation on an independence referendum.
Scottish Secretary Michael Moore launched the UK government consultation last month, which will examine issues around the legality of an independence referendum as well as questions over the terms of the referendum and range of participation. The consultation will run until 9 March 2012.
Concerns had been expressed that a referendum held without changes to current legislation could be subject to legal challenge although the UK government has made clear that they are willing to offer the Scottish government the powers they need to hold a referendum.
Commenting, Mr Carmichael said:
‘The independence referendum will provide the backdrop for the most significant constitutional debate that Scotland has faced in over 300 years. Before the final terms of the referendum are decided it is essential that people across the Northern Isles are allowed to have their say.
‘UK Ministers have made clear that they believe it is essential that a referendum is clear, decisive and legal. Continued uncertainty over a second question or the terms of so-called ‘devo-max’ will do Scotland no favours at a time when the economic outlook remains difficult.
‘The referendum could have profound implications for Scotland and it is important that the quality of debate around what separation from the UK would mean for all of us reflects this fact. The UK government consultation is an important part of this process and I would encourage all those who wish to participate to do so.’
Scottish Secretary Michael Moore added:
‘Deciding on the future of our country and whether it remains in the UK or becomes independent will be the most important decision we make in our lifetime. Therefore, it is vital that the referendum to determine this is legal, fair and decisive.
‘I believe that the referendum should be sooner rather than later, with one simple-yes no question to the existing Scottish Parliament franchise. However, we want to hear people’s views on these issues, from all sides of the argument, and this is what the UK government’s public consultation seeks to do.
‘We want this referendum to be made in Scotland, for the people of Scotland so I want to encourage everyone to make their voices heard and submit their views to the consultation.’
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