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The SNP names its date

Scottish government announces intention to hold an independence referendum in autuman 2014.

By George Eaton

In a bid to seize the initiative back from the UK government, the SNP has just announced autumn 2014 – a few weeks after the 700th anniversary of Bannockburn – as its preferred date for a referendum on Scottish independence. Nicola Sturgeon, the party’s deputy leader, broke the news a few minutes ago on Twitter.

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This would be an advisory referendum (the Scottish government does not have the legal right to hold a binding referendum) designed to provide the SNP with a clear mandate to negotiate for independence. But in his statement to the Commons earlier this afternoon, the Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore, denied that Alex Salmond’s administration even had the right to hold this. Westminster insists that it must determine both the timing and the wording of any vote. The course is set for a dramatic constitutional collision.

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Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team. The best way to sign up for The Green Transition is via spotlightonpolicy.substack.com
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