Vote 'most important for 300 years'

Salisbury Journal: Michael Moore says the main referendum issues will be economy, defence and Scotland's voice in the world Michael Moore says the main referendum issues will be economy, defence and Scotland's voice in the world

Voting in the independence referendum will be the most important decision people in Scotland will ever have to make, the Scottish Secretary has said.

A deal on the staging of the vote reached a "positive conclusion" last week following discussions between Michael Moore and Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The deal will now be presented to Prime Minister David Cameron and First Minister Alex Salmond for approval on Monday and both sides believe agreement will be reached.

Mr Moore said: "When we put pen to paper on the agreement that I have reached with Nicola Sturgeon that will be the green light for the most important decision people in Scotland will ever have to make. Do we stay part of the United Kingdom that we helped to build or do we decide to go it alone?"

Ms Sturgeon said: "The final agreement is for discussion between the First Minister and Prime Minister tomorrow, however my discussions with Michael Moore have been constructive and I believe we have reached a position that guarantees a referendum made in Scotland - which is exactly what we set out to do.

"Tomorrow's agreement will ensure that the decision taken by the people of Scotland is one that will be fully respected by both governments.

"The referendum is the biggest opportunity the people of Scotland have had for 300 years to determine the kind of nation we all wish to live in - and there is no doubt that a majority of people in Scotland want the fairer and wealthier society that independence can deliver.

"Once the agreement has been signed it is time for all of us, on all sides, to set out our arguments and campaign for the future we believe Scotland can have. Now the negotiations are over I am immensely looking forward to making the positive case for Scotland to have the powers of independence that are necessary to build the prosperous and fair society that we all want."

The independence referendum is expected to be held in Scotland in autumn 2014, with a single Yes/No question on whether Scotland should leave the United Kingdom on the ballot paper. It is also expected that the agreement will make provisions for 16-year-olds in Scotland to vote in the referendum.

Mr Moore said the issues of the debate will include the scale of the economy, the strength of defence capabilities, and determining Scotland's voice in the world.

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