Scotland politics

Nicola Sturgeon calls for future vote power

Nicola Sturgeon Image copyright AP
Image caption Nicola Sturgeon called for powers over a future referendum should rest with the Scottish Parliament

Scotland's incoming first minister has said the Scottish Parliament should have the power to call any future independence referendum.

Holyrood gained temporary powers from Westminster for September's vote, but Nicola Sturgeon said it should have explicit responsibility to do so again.

However, she told the BBC she would still prefer to act by agreement between Scottish and UK ministers.

Ms Sturgeon will succeed Alex Salmond as first minister in the next week.

Ahead of the referendum, Mr Salmond and Prime Minister David Cameron signed a deal allowing the vote to be staged by the Scottish Parliament on a fully legal basis, which became known as the Edinburgh Agreement.


By Brian Taylor, BBC Scotland political editor

"The power to call the September referendum was transferred to Scotland under the terms of the Edinburgh Agreement between the Prime Minister and the First Minister.

"Nicola Sturgeon negotiated those terms with Michael Moore, then Scottish Secretary.

"But that power was temporary. For one referendum only, held on a single date, with a single question.

"That power has now lapsed. Ms Sturgeon wants it restored permanently."

The arrangement has since lapsed, but Ms Sturgeon said: "The Scottish Parliament should have the ability to make that decision, but notwithstanding that I think we would always seek if possible to do that on the basis of consensus."

The current deputy first minister, added: "If there had been a 'Yes' vote in September, then the Edinburgh Agreement would have become very, very important because, as we went into negotiation, not just with the UK government but also with our partners internationally, we would have had the fact that the referendum had been agreed and consensual and both the UK government and the Scottish government had signed up in advance to respect its outcome."

The constitutional issue falls within the ambit of the the Smith Commission, announced by Mr Cameron in the wake of the referendum "No" vote to look at new Holyrood powers.

However, it is expected that supporters of the Union would resist Ms Sturgeon's call.