Page last updated at 19:31 GMT, Monday, 15 October 2012 20:31 UK

Details of Scotland referendum agreement unveiled

The UK government is confident it will win the argument for keeping Scotland within the UK, Scotland Office Minister David Mundell has said.

Earlier, Prime Minister David Cameron met First Minister Alex Salmond in Edinburgh to sign an agreement which paves the way for a referendum with a single Yes/No question on Scottish independence.

It is expected to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to take part in the ballot.

In a Commons statement on 15 October 2012, Mr Mundell said the agreement, which hands legal powers for a referendum to the Scottish Parliament - subject to approval by the UK Parliament - was "historic".

He told MPs: "Now the governments have agreed the process for the referendum, it is vital we get on with the real debate about the most important political decision people in Scotland will ever take.

"The UK Government has already started to prepare the analysis and evidence which people in Scotland are calling for. Over the next year, this government will publish thorough, evidence-based information which will set out the key issues in the independence debate.

"I fully expect it to show Scotland is better off within the United Kingdom and the rest of the United Kingdom is better with Scotland in it."

The Scottish National Party's deputy leader at Westminster, Stewart Hosie, agreed that the referendum was the "most important decision we will ever take".

But he added: "It also has the potential to be exciting, transformative for Scotland, when the Scottish people vote Yes."

His party colleague Pete Wishart hailed an "utterly fantastic day" and said it was "the next stage in our nation's story".

He told the Commons the SNP would publish its view of an independent Scotland in due course.


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