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London Impeding Scots Independence Bid

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TEHRAN June 7 (ICANA) – Britain's Scottish Secretary Michael Moore says Scotland is highly likely to need two referendums to secure independence from the UK.
Tuesday, June 07, 2011 9:37:00 PM
London Impeding Scots Independence Bid

Moore said there is a "strong likelihood" that Scotland should gain the votes on the details of an independence deal agreed by both London and Edinburgh after securing a victory in the first referendum that could be held in 2015.

This comes as Alex Salmond, the Scottish first minister and the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), has repeatedly said that a second referendum will be out of the question, as the first poll would be based on a detailed proposal from the Scottish government.

A spokesman for the SNP leader said Moore is just trying to obstruct the bid for independence as his new proposals go against his former plan suggesting London should hold a referendum on Scotland independence before Scots do it.

"Mr Moore's remarks on the referendum are wittering and irrelevant nonsense - reflecting the fact that he comes up with a new off-the-cuff position every time he talks about it," the spokesman said.

The SNP won an overwhelming majority in the May's local assembly elections in Scotland.

At the time Prime Minister David Cameron and Moore pledged to allow SNP have a referendum without any legal or constitutional hurdles, but Moore's recent comments mean Salmond will have to overcome a new major obstacle before any such vote.

"If we have an advisory referendum set up by the Scottish government, I think it is a strong likelihood and certainly my personal view that we would need a second referendum on the formalities of agreeing what has been sorted out between the governments," Moore said in Edinburgh on Monday.

The SNP is not legally qualified to hold a referendum as the constitution limits that power to Westminster but Salmond can still stage a consultative or advisory referendum which would grant political leverage to SNP to enter talks over Scotland's independence though the legal problem remains.

This is while the SNP says the second referendum would be a redundancy as no such thing was called after the bill on the establishment of the Scottish parliament was finalized back in 1999.

"Michael Moore doesn't make the decisions, the prime minister and the chancellor make them and the UK government is meant to be pursuing a 'respect agenda' towards Scotland, where the mandate from the people is overwhelming,” Salmond's spokesman said.

“Westminster needs to concentrate on delivering the powers the people of Scotland overwhelmingly voted for,” he added.

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