Edinburgh Agreement hailed as responses published

The signing of the historic Edinburgh Agreement was hailed in the Scottish Parliament today as the analysis of the 26,000 responses to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the referendum was published today.

The consultation, which drew the third largest response since devolution began, revealed broad support for the positions secured by the SNP Government in the Edinburgh Agreement.

There was substantial backing for the proposed wording and timing of the referendum, votes for 16 and 17 year olds and for “equitable” campaign spending limits. A majority of respondents opposed a second question on the ballot paper while opinion was split on the possibility of voting on a Saturday.

Today’s publication comes on the back of polling this weekend showing a gap of just eight points between support for an independent Scotland at 37 per cent for Yes to 45 per cent for No, which falls to a gap of just four points if people believe the Labour Party will win the 2015 election, and becomes a twelve point lead for Yes if people think the Conservative Party will win.

Commenting, SNP MSP Jamie Hepburn said:

“The Scottish Government’s consultation drew in a massive response from people who wanted a say in Scotland’s future.

“The overwhelming call was for Scotland’s referendum to proceed exactly on the basis that the SNP Government secured in the Edinburgh Agreement.

“There could scarcely be a clearer demonstration of which side had the desires of the people in Scotland at the forefront of their minds during the negotiation.

“With agreement secured on where decisions on shaping the referendum will be made, the focus of both sides in the debate should now be on the visions for Scotland that both sides have.

“People in Scotland are faced with a choice between an independent Scotland where the progress that has been made by the Scottish Parliament can be built on or the dismal offering of the anti-independence parties that would see those advances rolled back and undermined.”