Meeting at St Andrews House, the Scottish government building, in Edinburgh on October 15, the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister David Cameron and the First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond signed an agreement allowing the Scottish people to hold a referendum in Autumn 2014 to decide whether Scotland should remain in the U.K. or opt for independence.
BBC News explained that the U.K. government has responsibility over the kingdom’s constitutional issues and will “grant limited powers to the Scottish Parliament to hold a legal referendum, under a mechanism called Section 30.”
Following the signing of the agreement, Salmon said:
I’m delighted to say that the Edinburgh agreement … paves the way for the most important decision Scotland has made in several hundred years.
I believe that independence will win this campaign. I believe we’ll win it by setting out a better future for our country.
According to BBC News, the agreement provides for:
• A statutory order to be legislated at Westminster, granting Holyrood [the area of Edinburgh containing the Scottish parliament] powers to hold a single-question independence referendum by the end of 2014 and covering other issues like campaign broadcasts.
• A "memorandum of agreement" to be signed by political leaders confirming the details of the referendum will be settled at Holyrood.
• A significant role for the Electoral Commission watchdog in advising on the wording of the question, the running of the referendum and areas including campaign finance.
Cameron, who personally opposes Scottish independence, told the press:
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Photo: Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, right, and Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond, sign a referendum agreement during a meeting at St Andrews House in Edinburgh, Oct. 15, 2012: AP Images