Current Affairs Politics

The Edinburgh Agreement – An International Treaty By Any Other Name

Today in the Scottish capital two heads of government met to sign a new agreement, the Edinburgh Agreement in fact, committing two national governments to the holding of an independence referendum. The two heads of government were Alex Salmond and David Cameron, of course, and the two governments were the Scottish and British ones. Technically the former is the regional servant of the other but you would never have known it from today’s carefully managed PR victory for the SNP. Forget the referendum on Scottish independence. If the optics were anything to go by the Scottish Nationalists are already half way there.

As always the Lallands Peat Worrier gets it right.

Below is the text of the historic agreement:

Agreement between the United Kingdom Government and the Scottish Government on a referendum on independence for Scotland.

The United Kingdom Government and the Scottish Government have agreed to work together to ensure that a referendum on Scottish independence can take place.

The governments have agreed that the referendum should:

  • have a clear legal base;
  • be legislated for by the Scottish Parliament:
  • be conducted so as to command the confidence of parliaments, government and people; and
  • deliver a fair test and decisive expression of the views of people in Scotland and a result that everyone will respect.

The governments have agreed to promote an Order in Council under Section 30 of the Scotland Act 1998 in the United Kingdom and Scottish Parliaments to allow a single question referendum on Scottish independence to be held before the end of 2014. The Order will put beyond doubt that the Scottish Parliament can legislate for the referendum.

It will then be for the Scottish Government to promote legislation in the Scottish Parliament for a referendum on independence. The governments are agreed that the referendum should meet the highest standards of fairness, transparency and propriety, informed by consultation and independent expert advice. The referendum legislation will set out:

  • the date of the referendum;
  • the franchise;
  • the wording of the question;
  • rules on campaign financing; and
  • other rules for the conduct of the referendum.

The details of the agreement between the governments are set out in the following memorandum and draft Order, which forms part of this agreement.


The Rt. Hon. David Cameron MP Prime Minister 

The Rt. Hon. Alex Salmond MSP First Minister of Scotland 

The Rt. Hon. Michael Moore MP Secretary of State for Scotland 

Nicola Sturgeon MSP Deputy First Minister of Scotland

Edinburgh, 15 October 2012

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