Edinburgh Agreement (2012)

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Agreement between the United Kingdom Government and the Scottish Government on a referendum on independence for Scotland
Created 2011–12
Ratified 15 October 2012
Location St Andrew's House, Edinburgh, Scotland
Author(s) Bruce Crawford
Michael Moore
Nicola Sturgeon
Signatories David Cameron
Michael Moore
Alex Salmond
Nicola Sturgeon
Purpose to provide a clear legal basis for the holding of the Scottish independence referendum, 2014
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The Edinburgh Agreement (full title: Agreement between the United Kingdom Government and the Scottish Government on a referendum on independence for Scotland) is the agreement between the Scottish Government and the United Kingdom Government, signed on 15 October 2012 at St Andrew's House, Edinburgh, on the terms for the Scottish independence referendum, 2014.[1]

Both governments agreed that the referendum should:

  • have a clear legal base
  • be legislated for by the Scottish Parliament
  • be conducted so as to command the confidence of parliaments, government and people
  • deliver a fair test and decisive expression of the views of people in Scotland and a result that everyone will respect

The governments agreed to promote an Order in Council under Section 30 of the Scotland Act 1998 to allow a single-question referendum on Scottish independence to be held before the end of 2014 so to put beyond doubt that the Scottish Parliament can legislate for the referendum.[2]

The agreement was signed by David Cameron, Prime Minister; Michael Moore, Secretary of State for Scotland; Alex Salmond, First Minister; and Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister.

Whether the document was legally binding in theory is a matter of academic discussion.[3] In practice, an Order in Council was in fact approved on 12 February 2013,[4] granting constitutional legitimacy to the referendum held on September 18, 2014.

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