Scotland politics

Scottish independence: Moore urges all to back referendum question advice

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore said it was vital that the ruling of the body looking at the independence referendum question be accepted by all.

He made his plea during Scottish Questions at the House of Commons.

The Electoral Commission is testing the Scottish government's preferred question of "do you agree to Scotland becoming an independent country".

The SNP's Mike Weir pointed out to the minister that the commisson's advice had not yet been received.

He further argued Mr Moore's belief that the body should be listened to was at odds with "his government's refusal" to take Electoral Commission advice on a local government referendum.

Mr Moore said the Edinburgh Agreement recognised the importance of the role of the Electoral Commission.

He added: "The referendum has to be seen to be fair for both sides. We cannot have folk calling into question the results of the referendum."

Mr Moore said he would stand by the commission's non-binding advice and he hoped the Scottish government would do likewise.

The monthly question and answer session with the Lib Dem MP was dominated by issues linked with the Scottish independence referendum.

In other news, Mr Moore expressed his disappointment at the decision by Dutch food firm Vion to pull out of 12 sites in Scotland and its other UK premises.

He invited MPs to a meeting to discuss the implications for hundreds of workers who face redundancy.

The future of defence and civil service jobs in a go-alone Scotland was also raised.

Mr Moore's deputy, David Mundell, told the chamber that when the people of Scotland make a decision on independence it must be for the long term "not just for Christmas 2014".

SNP MP Stewart Hosie said Scotland's renewable sector jobs had generated billions and would continue to generate billions for the economy.

He said even in the face of a forthcoming independence referendum and the likelihood of independence, companies were still investing in Scotland.

Mr Hosie added: "No one is listening to his [Mr Mundell] scare stories."

Scotland's independence referendum is due to take place in autumn 2014.

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