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The Edinburgh Agreement

Scots GovernmentSince the late 19th century people in Scotland have campaigned variously for devolution and independence. Although a majority of Scottish citizens voted for devolution in a referendum held in 1979, it fell short of a requirement that 40% of the electorate had to vote yes. Eventually, however, a new referendum was held in 1997 and 73% voted in favour of the Scottish Parliament being re-established, which took place in 1999. 

In 2007 the Scottish National Party (SNP) was voted into power as a minority government, but was returned in 2011 with a majority (69 out of 129 seats) and a manifesto pledge to hold a referendum on Scottish independence. The debate intensified in 2011 and 2012 when the legal right of the Scottish Government to hold a referendum was questioned with the UK Government insisting this would require legislation by the UK parliament. In addition, the proposed wording of a referendum question was hotly debated. A bill for holding a referendum passed through the UK Parliament and was agreed by the Scottish Parliament on 18 April 2012. It became law on 1 May 2012 as the Scotland Act 2012. On 15 October 2012 First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond and UK Prime Minister David Cameron met at St Andrew’s House, Edinburgh, and formally agreed the legal framework for the referendum. The date of the referendum was set for Thursday 18 September 2014. On that day 2,001,926 (55.3%) of the voting electorate voted against independence while 1,617,989 (44.7%) voted in favour.

The document which follows (see PDF below) is a translation by Dr Dauvit Horsbroch into Scots of the text of the Edinburgh Agreement which was agreed by Alex Salmond and David Cameron on 15 October 2012. It sets forward an agreed body of rules for the legal governance of the referendum campaign, making reference to existing legislation, and the ways in which both sides should seek to conduct themselves generally.

The text is also accompanied by an audio version as an mp3 file.