As-it-happened: Referendum date statement

Key Points

  • First Minister Alex Salmond says the Scottish independence referendum will take place on Thursday, 18 September 2014.
  • The Independence Referendum Bill will see voters asked the yes/no question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"
  • A bill aimed at extending the vote to 16 and 17-year-olds came before the Scottish Parliament last week.
  1.  
    1352:

    Hello and welcome to our live text and video coverage of the announcement of the date for the Scottish independence referendum. First Minister Alex Salmond is due on his feet at the Scottish Parliament at 14:00.

     
  2.  
    1400:

    Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick introduces Alex Salmond to address the chamber.

     
  3.  
    1400:

    Mr Salmond says the legislation is the most important to be introduced at Holyrood. The referendum bill was brought about by consensus, despite disagreement over the debate itself, Mr Salmond says.

     
  4.  
    1401:

    The Bill makes clear that the Electoral Commission will have overall responsibility to oversee the referendum, Mr Salmond tells the chamber. That includes campaign spending for the referendum.

     
  5.  
    1403:

    The level of debate must meet the expectations of the Scottish people, adds Mr Salmond.

     
  6.  
    1404:

    The first minister goes on to list the legislative achievements of the Scottish Parliament.

     
  7.  
    1404:

    In a hushed chamber, the SNP leader puts the case for independence. He asks a series of questions including, why should Scotland have no control over whether nuclear weapons are on Scottish soil?

     
  8.  
    1405:

    Mr Salmond says the country needs the powers of independence, he adds that the current system isn't working for Scotland.

     
  9.  
    1406: Breaking News

    On Thursday, 18 September - 2014 - the referendum will take place.

     
  10.  
    1407:
    Alex Salmond

    "We will be able to stand on our own two feet, but we will not stand alone, we will have a partnership of equals," says Mr Salmond.

     
  11.  
    1408:

    The FM will now take questions.

     
  12.  

    @AlexSalmond tweets: I believe on 18 September 2014 Scotland will vote YES to create a better country than we have now #indyref #yes (AA)

     
  13.  
    1408:

    Labour leader Johann Lamont says "let's finish this once and for all" and then get on with the priorities. She adds that Scotland is still "on pause".

     
  14.  

    @SusaninLangside tweets: 547 days and counting! #18September #IndyRef #yes2014

     
  15.  
    1410:

    "This should be the day when the FM breaks the habit of a lifetime and starts answering questions," says Ms Lamont. She then asks what control would the Bank of England have over the policies of a separate Scotland?

     
  16.  
    1411:

    The Labour leader then adds: "What the plan Alec?"

     
  17.  

    @jennie_kermode tweets: So Scotland will hold its #indyref on the 18th of September. Here's what happened on that day in history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_18

     
  18.  
    1411:

    The FM says he doesn't know what the complaint of Ms Lamont is. He adds that Ms Lamont uses her time at FMQs to ask about independence.

     
  19.  
    1414:

    FM says the timetable is exactly what the SNP said they were gong to do.

     
  20.  

    @imsarcastic tweets: 786710 minutes to go until polls close in Scotland's Independence Referendum #IndyRef

     
  21.  
    1415:

    Conservative leader Ruth Davidson highlights the "strength" of being part of UK family. She challenges Mr Salmond to end "baseless assertion" and be straight with the people of Scotland.

     
  22.  
    Niall Paterson

    @ERSScotland So if you were born before 18.09.1998 you'll be able to vote! #indyref #votesat16

     
  23.  
    1416:

    "Our argument will be tested but the passage of time has led to the strength of our argument," Mr Salmond calmly tells the chamber.

     
  24.  
    1417:

    Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie says it has taken almost 700 days to agree on a referendum date, but it will take many less to "break up the country". I believe in home rule, says Mr Rennie.

     
  25.  

    @mike_brader tweets: so #indyref will be about a month and a half after the Glasgow Commonwealth Games

     
  26.  
    1418:

    Mr Salmond said it was important to have a debate and to give six months between the passage of the bill and the referendum - as had been recommended.

     
  27.  

    @EddieBarnes23 Short 16 week 'regulated' campaign would begin end of May by my reckoning #indyref

     
  28.  
    1419:

    Bruce Crawford says he welcomes the statement. Does the FM not agree with me that the Scottish government has been positive, straight and fair?

     
  29.  

    @andyjameshicks tweets: Scots: If you were born on or before 18.09.1998 you'll be able to vote in the #indyref

     
  30.  
    1420:

    This is a fair, democratic test of the people of Scotland, says Mr Salmond.

     
  31.  
    INFORMATION 1422:

    The Scottish Independence Referendum Bill, introduced to by Nicola Sturgeon, is now on the Scottish Parliament website.

     
  32.  

    @fmwales tweets: I firmly believe we are stronger together than we would ever be apart #indyref

     
  33.  
    1421:

    Labour's Patricia Ferguson said his statement given to MSPs did not contain the date of the referendum. He said Mr Salmond needed a fanfare on the date. She goes on to economics in an independence Scotland. When will we get the undoctored facts?

     
  34.  
    Scott K, Livingston, West Lothian

    emails: 18th September 2014 - The day we Scots celebrate our Independence...

     
  35.  
    1423:

    Mr Salmond says it was only fair to give the date out to both MSPs and the people of Scotland at the same time. (He goes on to make reference to London Evening Standards mistaken tweet of the Budget).

     
  36.  
    Clockl

    @PeterMurrell tweets: Countdown to destiny under way. 18-09-14. And just in case you were wondering, polls open in... #Yes #indyref pic.twitter.com/QQlCJzn3fR

     
  37.  
    1424:

    Greens leader Patrick Harvie says Mr Salmond guarded his date very well. He goes on to endorse the positive aspects of independence. Mr Salmond says a negative argument will win only if it comes up against another negative argument.

     
  38.  

    @GrayInGlasgow tweets: Scotland will vote on independence upon the centenary of Irish Home Rule. #indyref

     
  39.  
    1426:

    Claire Adamson talks of her 15-year-old son's chance to vote in the referendum. But how will the FM engage in the process so he and others are ready to decide the future of their nation? The FM says the Electoral Commission will have a role and their's will be a key role in how the campaigns conduct themselves.

     
  40.  

    @Fadders10 tweets: Kids who were 9 years old when Alex Salmond first became First Minister will be able to vote in #indyref. Is this #wise?

     
  41.  
    1428:

    James Kelly says this date is a date marking Mr Salmond's retirement. Mr Salmond says he has heard all of this before.

     
  42.  
    James, Bellshill, Scotland

    emails: this is a really sad day for Scotland, looking forward to the vote to stop this idiocy

     
  43.  
    1429:

    Gil Paterson says he has waited a long time for this occasion. Will the timetable allow for the proper process to allow people to make an informed decision on our country's future. Royal assent will come in November this year, adds the FM. He adds: "The campaigns will continue, we have kept clear of both the European election, we have kept clear of the major sporting events next year - for all of these reasons this is the right time, the right date."

     
  44.  

    @BaseDrones tweets: Checks diary for 18 September 2014. Aye, I'll be about. #indyref

     
  45.  

    @ScottishPol tweets: Date of #indyref could be changed if 18-9-14 proves a problem, according to bill, but must be held by 31-12-14

     
  46.  

    @GusMacaulay tweets: Schedule 3, para 27, of #indyref Bill makes provision for adjournment in case of riot. Won't be needed I'm sure..

     
  47.  
    1431:

    Maureen Watt congratulates the FM on the 16 and 17-year-old voters bill. She focuses on control of oil revenues and "all revenues" in an independent society. Is this a good thing, she asks? He agrees.

     
  48.  
    1434:

    Kezia Dugdale says we still don't know the detail. Why are we waiting six months for the white paper detail? The FM says that documents will be issued over the next few months, the timing of the white paper is right, he adds. There will be plenty of time to debate this says Mr Salmond.

     
  49.  
    1435:

    Rod Campbell on the role of the UK government. Both Holyrood and Westminster respect the process, says Mr Salmond.

     
  50.  

    @HandsUpForYes tweets: Thursday 18th September 2014 - Scotland's Day of Destiny! Hands Up For Yes! #YesScot. #IndyRef. pic.twitter.com/tdzzbly6rV

     
  51.  
    1436:

    Tory Annabel Goldie asks about rights to vote for overseas-based members of the Armed Forces. Mr Salmond says that those in the Armed Forces both overseas and in the rest of the UK will be able to register to vote in the referendum. He says there is no need to question this issue.

     
  52.  

    @gavincorbett tweets: I just put #indyref date in my electronic calendar with an alert just in case people forget to tell me it is coming up. #yes

     
  53.  
    1437:

    Elaine Murray expresses concerns on the darker nights of September. Mr Salmond says he can't understand the concern.

     
  54.  
    Les Swanson, Aberdeen City

    emails: A great day for Scotland and for us to have our own destiny in an honest vote without the bribes of over 300 years ago

     
  55.  
    1438:

    Chick Brodie welcomes the statement. He says independence will give us the opportunity to have "our rightful place in the world". Mr Salmond agrees.

     
  56.  

    @Gibbyr1 tweets: @AlexSalmond sorry Big Al am washin' ma hair that day #indyref

     
  57.  
    1439:

    Will Mr Salmond agree to debate with Alistair Darling, head of the Better Together campaign, he is asked? Mr Salmond says he will debate with the PM if asked.

     
  58.  
    Frances Bremner, Cairndow, Argyll

    emails: What's wrong with being part of a United Kingdom with our own Parliament? I know people will make the right choice on the 18th September 2014

     
  59.  

    @jamesdoleman tweets: #indyref on 18-9-14, which coincidently is also one proposed New Scottish Football League structure.

     
  60.  
    1440:

    Independent MSP Margo Macdonald says her friends in the chamber have let her down - it is a big debate that needs big answers "can we big it up, please?" she asks.

     
  61.  
    1441:

    Jim Eadie asks for a high level of debate. Mr Salmond says that should and will be the case. We will rise to the challenge, says Mr Salmond.

     
  62.  
    Signing of bill

    @NicolaSturgeon tweets: When I joined @theSNP at 16, I never imagined I'd one day put my signature on an #indyref Bill #specialmoment #yes pic.twitter.com/zWpKwIZ43F

     
  63.  
    1443:

    Labour's Neil Findlay asks about corporation tax plans for an independent Scotland. Mr Salmond says his plan would lead to an increased wealth in the country. "We will sweep away the negativity that Mr Findlay is associated with," says Mr Salmond ... and there ends the statement and questions in the chamber.

     
  64.  
    1446: Brian Taylor Political editor, Scotland

    "The date comes ahead of party conference and it comes at the end of a summer featuring the Commonwealth Games - there may be a bit of a bounce after that."

     
  65.  

    @509298 tweets: Not quite sure what the big deal is about the #indyref date. Am decidedly underwhelmed by all the fuss. Am I missing something here?

     
  66.  

    @ERSScotland tweets: Disappointed that some of the innovative proposals for encouraging turnout aren't in the #indyref Bill

     
  67.  
    1447: Brian Taylor Political editor, Scotland

    "The bill will be scrutinised. I think the process issues are actually settled. It is very, very much now on with the campaign itself."

     
  68.  

    @JamieACooke tweets: So 18th September 2014 will be date of Referendum on Scottish independence - do you think both sides can start a proper debate now? #indyref

     
  69.  
    INFORMATION

    Brian Taylor, BBC Scotland political editor, is one of a number of people offering analysis in a special BBC Scotland programme on BBC2 running until 15:30.

     
  70.  
    Referendum date The 18 September date was set in a grider at Steel Engineering in Renfrew
     
  71.  

    @gavinyates tweets: So #indyref date is anniversary of death of Jimi Hendrix - not so much Voodoo Chile more Voodoo Economics. #scotlandonpause

     
  72.  
    1450:

    Head of the Yes Scotland campaign Blair Jenkins says he is really pleased about the date - it is pitched correctly. (And no, he insists he had no idea before the statement of the date)

     
  73.  
    1452:

    Head of the Better Together campaign Blair McDougall said we are where we are and now we need to get on with the substance of the debate. He went on to say that the country still did not know key facts about plans for independence. "Let's not forget the detail," he adds.

     
  74.  
    1455:
    Blair Jenkins and Blair McDougall Blair Jenkins and Blair McDougall argue their points

    "We have what it takes," says Mr Jenkins. We need to clear out the artificial roadblocks being put down by the no campaign, adds Mr Jenkins. Mr McDougall says there is no room for complacency, people need to get out to vote - and vote no.

     
  75.  

    @PunchBooks tweets: Date of Scotland's #indyref set for 18 September 2014. A reminder of when Scots ran the British Empire... PUNCH 1910

     
  76.  
    1500:

    We are energised, we are enthused, says Mr Jenkins. Mr McDougall says he expects a high turnout, but (in a further emphasis on a previous point) people need to get out and they need to vote.

     
  77.  

    @KennyFarq tweets: Headline of Scottish Labour press release: SALMOND ANNOUNCES HIS RETIREMENT DAY. Wishful thinking? Or true fact? #indyref

     
  78.  
    1500:

    Mr Dougall says his campaign will continue to focus on the details and ask the questions that Mr Salmond does not want asking. He teases BBC Scotland programme presenter Andrew Kerr and says there will be a big event tomorrow that will be a "political world first". Mr Jenkins says his people are on the streets now campaigning for people's votes.

     
  79.  

    @TheAwayEnd tweets: Sep 18th, 2014. 109 years to the day Alex Salmond's Hearts defeated Hibs 3-0 at Easter Road. #IndyRef

     
  80.  
    1503:

    Mr Jenkins says there is a high level of engagement for first-time and young voters, but it is a referendum for all ages and all parts of the country. Where young voters are more significant, says Mr McDougall, is that this referendum is a forever-decision.

     
  81.  
    1505:

    "I am relieved, I am glad the date is out there, I'm generally not a secretive person," Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tells the BBC's Andrew Kerr.

     
  82.  
    1507:

    Avoiding the school holidays was important, having the referendum before the clocks changed was also important, adds Ms Sturgeon.

     
  83.  
    1507:

    Ms Sturgeon says: "This now focuses the minds. We will lay out the case for independence. We will lay out the vision for independence."

     
  84.  
    1509:

    This is the right time to make this announcement, and to make it first to the Scottish Parliament, says Ms Sturgeon.

     
  85.  
    1510:

    Academic Nicola McEwen says the Yes campaign will have to find some key issues to mobilise a vote in their favour as the campaign gathers pace. Welfare reform maybe one of those issues, adds Ms McEwen.

     
  86.  
    1512:

    Independent MSP Margo Macdonald says this is a complex question and it is right there is plenty of time to debate the issues. It doesn't matter when the date is, she adds. Labour MSP Patricia Ferguson says it is good we now know the date and are able to start the debate. She says she is disappointed that the White Paper for the referendum is not being published sooner.

     
  87.  
    1514:

    Ms Ferguson says the pro-unionists have been taking the debate to the people of Scotland over the last few months.

     
  88.  
    1515:

    Ms Macdonald asks Ms Ferguson: "Are you telling people why we should stick with the UK?" People are telling us why they do not want the UK broken up, says Ms Ferguson.

     
  89.  
    Reaction

    Liz Cameron, chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: "The announcement of the date for the referendum delivers greater clarity in terms of the timetable for the decision making process. For business, even more clarity will be required over the next 18 months about the business environment and fostering economic growth in Scotland."

     
  90.  
    1519:

    Patrick Harvie, Scottish Green, says that people will be convinced by a fairer, more equal society. If people want a Scottish approach then they should vote for independence, he adds. Tory MSP Jackson Carlaw says he was delighted by knowing the date. The big tease is over, he adds.

     
  91.  
    Sandy McLean, Lochee, Dundee

    emails: I have put date in my mobile calendar. I've waited years for this to happen. Let's get an independent Scotland. No excuses - we have a great chance to run our country.

     
  92.  
    1520:

    I disagree with the SNP and the bid to bring in a low corporation tax, says Mr Harvie. We need to work on making it a better Scotland for the people of Scotland.

     
  93.  
    1521:

    Mr Carlaw says you cannot strip out the emotion out of the independence debate.

     
  94.  
    1522:

    The call for clarity is intriguing, says Prof McEwen. She adds that on many of these issues they can only be clarified after yes to independence when key matters will be subject to negotiation.

     
  95.  
    1525:

    The Sun's Andy Nicoll admits that his paper had called it wrong. We got the year and the date right, just not the month, he told the BBC's Andrew Kerr.

     
  96.  
    1526:

    This is about emotion and about "talking mince", adds Mr Nicoll. It will be one for the heart and not the head, agrees Alan Cochrane of the telegraph.

     
  97.  
    Sean Darling, Hawick

    emails: Finally I can vote on something and it will mean something. Nobody feels like their vote has worth because every national election is basically decided by the whims of London. My tiny Scottish Borders vote will actually mean something this time round. Hopefully this can continue into the future. I'm voting YES.

     
  98.  
    Information

    And here are the important 2014 dates for your diary...

    • Between 22 and 25 May - European Parliament elections
    • 24 June - 700th Anniversary of Battle of Bannockburn
    • 23 July - 3 August - Glasgow Commonwealth Games
    • 28 July - Anniversary of the outbreak of WWI
    • 18 September - Referendum on Scottish independence
    • 26-28 September - Ryder Cup at Gleneagles
     
  99.  
    1533:

    Well, that's it for our live video and text coverage of Alex Salmond's statement on the date of the independence referendum. Check out our comprehensive story on the historic move. Listen to analysis and updates on Radio Scotland's Newsdrive programme. Watch an extended Reporting Scotland on BBC One, starting at 18:30. There will also be a longer Newsnight Scotland on BBC Two Scotland, from 23:00 to 23:30. And for more on the story tune in to BBC Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme starting at 06:00 tomorrow.

     

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