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Scottish Independence The Law and the Politics Professor Robert Hazell Constitution Unit, Dept of Political Science, UCL Constitution Unit Seminar 12 March.

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Presentation on theme: "Scottish Independence The Law and the Politics Professor Robert Hazell Constitution Unit, Dept of Political Science, UCL Constitution Unit Seminar 12 March."— Presentation transcript:

1 Scottish Independence The Law and the Politics Professor Robert Hazell Constitution Unit, Dept of Political Science, UCL Constitution Unit Seminar 12 March 2012

2 Can the Scottish Parliament authorise a referendum on independence? Evolution of SNP’s proposed questions ‘The Scottish government should negotiate a settlement with the government of the UK so that Scotland becomes an independent state’ (2007 White Paper) After a question on Devo Max, should there be a second question on whether the Scottish Parliament should have its powers extended to enable independence to be achieved (2010 consultation paper) ‘Do you agree that Scotland should become an independent country?’ (2012 consultation paper)

3 Can the Scottish Parliament authorise a referendum on independence? The Law UK government Scotland’s Constitutional Future 10 Jan 2012 Lord Wallace ‘Scotland’s Constitutional Future’ Glasgow University 20 Jan 2012 Scottish government, Your Scotland - Your Referendum 25 Jan 2012 House of Lords Constitution Committee Referendum on Scottish Independence 17 Feb 2012 House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee Inquiry Constitutional Law Group blog: posts by Adam Tomkins, Gavin Anderson et al, Nick Barber, Chris McCrudden, Gregoire Webber

4 SNP Timetable for Scottish independence 2012 Consultation 2013 Legislation 2014 Independence 2015 Negotiations 2016 Independence

5 Differences between the UK and Scottish government Timing of the referendum: sooner or later? Regulation by the UK Electoral Commission (now agreed by Scottish government) Multi option referendum: second question on devolution max? Wording of the question on independence Wording of the question on Devolution Max

6 Devolution Plus or Devolution Max Devolution Plus was the policy of the unionist parties (esp Lib Dems); appropriated by SNP Devolution Max defined as devolution of all taxes, and all powers save defence and foreign affairs Devo Max would depend on cooperation and shared services with the UK government As would independence/interdependence?

7 Difficulties with multi option referendums Risk of confused debate about two separate constitutional issues Risk of uncertain result: what if the votes are 45:35:20? or 70:30 for devo max, 60:40 for independence? How many lead campaign organisations? What if the Electoral Commission advises against a multi option referendum?

8 Voting systems for Multi Option Referendums First past the post AV preferential voting Two questions: Independence vs status quo; Devo Max vs status quo Condorcet voting: includes third question on Independence vs Devo Max Second referendum, as run-off between preferred option and status quo

9 Should the UK government attach conditions to its support? ‘Lawful, fair and decisive’ (Cameron) Timetable: keep away from 2015 UK election Observe Electoral Commission advice Multi-option referendum, only if either Condorcet voting, or second run-off referendum And if Devo Max is defined in sufficient detail


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