Scotland’s first minister, Alex Salmond, has confirmed he wants a referendum on independence from Britain to take place in the fall of 2014.
According to Salmond’s comments to BBC News on January 10, the proposed date would allow the Scottish people to make a “considered” decision on whether to end the country’s 305-year union with England within what is now the called the United Kingdom, which also includes Wales and Northern Ireland.
“The date for the referendum has to be the autumn of 2014,” Salmond told the BBC. “That’s because this is the biggest decision that Scotland has made for 300 years. If you are going to do things properly and have the debate in the way it must be had then that is the date that we are going to move towards.”
Salmond, who favours independence from the U.K., said the decision must be one led by the will of the Scottish people, with no meddling from Westminster.
According to the same news report, Michael Moore, U.K. secretary of state for Scotland, said in a statement to parliament that, while the coalition government favours the status quo, there should still be a “legal, fair and decisive referendum”.
He said there were legal hurdles to overcome, as he said in the House of Commons that Scotland is prohibited from seeking an independence vote without the authority of Westminster.
The Scottish parliament currently has devolved powers in the areas of education, health, the environment, and justice, but not in foreign affairs and defence.