LONDON – British Prime Minister David Cameron is set to sign a landmark accord Monday that paves the way for a vote on Scotland’s independence in fall 2014, Scottish Secretary Michael Moore announced Sunday on the BBC.
Cameron is scheduled to meet with Scotland’s First Minister – and its leading independence advocate – Alex Salmond before inking the deal, which would lay out the long-awaited terms of the ballot initiative. There reportedly will be one yes or no question on the ballot, a victory for Cameron who has fought attempts by Salmond to add a second option asking Scots if they wanted even greater autonomy from the British state if the bid for independence fails.
Salmond, according to the BBC, won a concession that 16- and 17-year-olds will be able to cast a vote, a plus for the independence movement as younger voters in Scotland are believed to more receptive to the notion of breaking away from Britain. In addition, Cameron reportedly also has given in on the timing of the vote; he had initially wanted the referendum held next year. The most recent opinions polls show a declining number of Scots in favor of independence, with roughly 28 percent now supporting it. Salmond, however, has argued that a delayed vote would give the independence movement more time to convince skeptical voters.
“What we are now setting up is to allow people in Scotland to make the most important decision in 300 years,”Moore said on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show. “People can have confidence that when they see that agreement, it will ensure that both governments’ sets of objectives have been achieved.”