Page last updated at 15:28 GMT, Tuesday, 16 June 2009 16:28 UK

Referendum 'could look at powers'

Alex salmond
Mr Salmond said the people must be allowed to decide on independence

The option to increase the Scottish Parliament's powers could be included in an independence referendum, First Minister Alex Salmond has said.

He said there was a willingness to put a question on the issue on the ballot paper, in the wake of the Calman Commission report, on Monday.

The commission's review of devolution said Holyrood should take charge of half the income tax raised in Scotland.

The SNP aims to hold a referendum in 2010, but lacks parliamentary support.

The Calman findings outlined a range of powers which it recommended should be handed from Westminster to Holyrood.

We have a willingness to put a question - another question on the Calman proposals - onto that ballot paper so no one can say their option has been excluded
Alex Salmond
First minister of Scotland

These included airgun legislation and powers to set drink driving and speed limits - but Mr Salmond branded the report "fundamentally weak and flawed in a number of areas".

During an event to promote the Scottish Government's "National Conversation" on Scotland's constitutional future, Mr Salmond said the people must have the right to a say on independence - an issue which the Calman review did not consider.

"If, as a price of allowing the Scottish people to decide, that both options have to be presented to get the parliament to allow the people to determine in a referendum their own future, then I'm perfectly happy to have both options on the ballot paper," he said.

Mr Salmond added: "We have a willingness to put a question - another question on the Calman proposals - onto that ballot paper so no one can say their option has been excluded or neglected, and then take it to the people of Scotland and abide by the sovereign decision of the only jury that really matters in this country - that's the people of Scotland."

'Cynical attempt'

Scotland's main opposition parties - who backed the setting up of the devolution commission, chaired by Sir Kenneth Calman - dismissed Mr Salmond's pledge as a red herring and an attempt by his minority government to win enough support to hold the referendum.

Scottish Tory Leader Annabel Goldie said: "This is a cynical attempt by the SNP to play politics with the serious recommendations from the Calman Commission."

The SNP, said a Labour spokesman, had been "running around like headless chickens in their response to Calman, adding: "One minute they support it, the next they are against it."

A Lib Dem spokesman said: "As no political party opposes Calman, putting it to a referendum would be a pointless waste of taxpayers' time and money."

The Scottish Government also said it would announce its recommendations from the National Conversation on 30 November - St Andrew's Day - on how to take the referendum forward.

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