News In Focus
Second question will kill independence referendum: Moore
18 September 2012
The Scottish Government has to rule out a second question on greater devolution before the UK Government will grant Scotland the legal power to hold an independence referendum, Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has told a parliamentary committee.
Mr Moore said a single question ballot is "essential" if the UK Government is to give Scotland the legal power to hold the referendum.
The Scottish Government has said it is open to including a second question on further devolution, often called "devo plus" or "devo max", on the ballot paper.
The Scottish Government insisted that a second question on further devolution remains firmly on the table.
A spokesman for Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who is now leading the Scottish Government`s referendum negotiations, said: "This is Scotland's referendum, and the arrangements for it should be made in Scotland, not dictated by Westminster.
"All of the relevant issues governing the referendum, including that of a second question, which has significant support among the public and civic society, must be determined in the interests of the Scottish people, not in the narrow interests of any political party.
Mr Moore told MPs on Monday night that "nobody envisages a blank cheque being handed over to the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament".
While he was firm on a single question, he said the possibility of extending the franchise to 16 and 17-year-olds was still up for debate.
He also confirmed that the timing of the referendum - expected to be in autumn 2014 - will be left to the Scottish Parliament.
Mr Moore said he hoped to have full terms of the section 30 order and the memorandum of understanding agreed before the Scottish Parliament autumn recess begins on October 22.