Thursday, May 8, 2008

Two Referendums required for Scottish Independence?

Haven't seen this in any of the papers yet:

Constitution Unit Press statement.
Brian Walker
Hon Senior Research Fellow, the Constitution Unit
University College London

A SINGLE REFERENDUM FOR SCOTS TO BREAK UP THE UNION WOULD BE UNLAWFUL TWO REFERENDUMS REQUIRED FOR SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE SAYS THE CONSTITUTION UNIT

Constitution Unit Press statement
TWO REFERENDUMS REQUIRED FOR SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE SAYS THE CONSTITUTION UNIT

A single referendum initiated by the SNP government and authorised by the Scottish Parliament could not achieve independence for Scotland. The terms of any independence deal negotiated with the UK government would require a second referendum authorised by Westminster, says the Constitution Unit. A first referendum could only be held on the principle of independence, and authorise the SNP government to enter into negotiation with the UK government about the details.

The Constitution Unit is responding to the apparent U turn on a referendum by Wendy Alexander leader of Scottish Labour, after her call on Alex Salmond’s SNP minority government to “bring it on.”

We have long argued that Scottish independence requires two referendums, for reasons of law and practical politics” said Constitution Unit director Prof Robert Hazell. “Under the Scotland Act only Westminster can authorise a referendum that would grant Scotland independence. I would be surprised if Gordon Brown has also done a U turn and wants Westminster to hold such a referendum any time soon”.

But there are also reasons of principle why there should be two referendums. People in Scotland might support independence in principle, but think again when confronted with the terms of independence. The terms will include not just issues like North Sea oil, but division of the national debt, ending all financial transfers from the UK government, and Scotland’s continued membership of the EU. The Scots are entitled to know the detailed terms of independence before making such a big decision”.

You can read the rest, here(comment 9).

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I seem to remember the Scotsman running with this sometime last year. After lots of huffing and puffing the general consensus was, constitutional legalities on hold, if the Scots people expressed their feeling to end the 1707 Union in a free and fair referendum it was incredibly unlikely that Westminster would ignore that verdict.

Kloot said...

The second referendum would be a waste of time. If the Scottish people vote for independence, then its highly unlikely that Westminster would try to block it (although that might depend on the margins).

Were the rest of the UK to vote against the wishes of the Scottish people, it would mean a severe dent to the cohesiveness of the UK anyway as it will send a message to the Scots that despite what yer wishes, we will ignore you.

Tony said...

C'mon oneill!

I'd expected a higher standard from you than this. Wendy doll is not alone it seems.

Was it you who posted this on slugger?

O'Neill said...

"No" to your last question and it'll probably also not surprise you to find out that I'm not the academic behind the original report.

That's the third back-handed compliment from a nationalist this week, i must be slipping;)

Anonymous said...

Free Europe? Vote YES at www.FreeEurope.info !

Hen Ferchetan said...

Legally there doesn't need to be a referendum at all. The UK Parliament could grant independence to the four countries tomorrow if it so wished.

The referendum will have to occur because it's only fair and right that such an important question is decided by the people directly.

There is no issue in the UK that legally requires one referendum, let alone two.