Deadline approaches for SNP referendum consultation
Published: 11th May 2012 02:29:58
The Scottish government's consultation into a referendum on independence has attracted more than 19,000 responses, according to ministers.
The deadline for public submissions on the issue is midnight on Friday.
The Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has used the occasion to call on the Scottish government to hold more talks.
He has written to Alex Salmond to propose a meeting to determine how the UK and Scottish governments can work together to deliver the referendum.
The UK government's own consultation ended in March, attracting about 3,000 responses.
Mr Moore said he was confident an agreement could be reached.
He said: "The Scottish government will want some time to consider the responses it has received and that is of course right.
In Scotland we've had more than 19,000 responses but at the UK level they had less than 3,000. I think that says very clearly where the people of Scotland's priorities lie as far as the referendum is concerned”
"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.
Mr Moore said that from meetings he had already had with Alex Salmond, he was confident the Scottish government supported a Section 30 Order, approved by the UK and Scottish Parliaments, to put the referendum on a "sound legal footing".
He also said both governments were clear there should be a single question asked in the referendum and the process should be overseen by the Electoral Commission.
He added: "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."
Speaking ahead of the final day of the Scottish government's consultation, Strategy Secretary Bruce Crawford said: "As we have always said, we have no objection to Westminster extending a 'Section 30' power to the Scottish Parliament in relation to the referendum, but it must be on the basis of no strings being attached."
Mr Crawford told BBC Scotland: "In Scotland we've had more than 19,000 responses but at the UK level they had less than 3,000.
"I think that says very clearly where the people of Scotland's priorities lie as far as the referendum is concerned."
He said the Scottish government would be happy to meet with UK ministers on the issue of the referendum.
He added: "We're continually talking to the UK government about all sorts of things.
"Next week I'm in London talking about the commencement powers for the Scotland Bill."
Mr Crawford said once the consultation period had concluded, the Scottish government would subject it to a process of independent analysis.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Deadline approaches for SNP referendum consultation. [Online] (Updated 11 May 2012)
Available at: http://www.manchesterwired.co.uk/news.php/1427842-Deadline-approaches-for-SNP-referendum-consultation [Accessed 19th June 2013]
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