The Cameron Government Will Adopt a Clarity Act for Salmond’s Referendum on Scottish Independence


The Independent has reported that the Cameron government will put forward legislation that will either preempt or set the ground rules for Alex Salmond’s referendum on Scottish independence. The Cameron government would even call it “The Clarity Act”, like our law here in Canada, which stipulates that in order for a province to secede, its provincial government must submit a clear question that a clear majority of the people of that province support; the House of Commons (and not the Senate) would determine after the referendum whether it had constituted a clear majority on a clear question. Such legislation in the UK would allow the Westminster Parliament to exercise its legitimate authority over Scotland’s constitutional status, as per the terms of the Scotland Act, 1998.

The Westminster Parliament would force the Scottish Parliament to submit one clear question on whether Scotland should separate and effectively dissolve the United Kingdom rather than Alex Salmond’s current plan to offer two options: full independence (even though Scotland would keep the Pound Sterling and effectively contain a monetary union with England), and maximum devolution (“devo max”), which would transfer all powers but defence and foreign affairs to Scotland. In any case, a referendum would only empower the Scottish government to negotiate a settlement with the British government and would not (or at least shouldn’t) entail obligatory constitutional reforms on the part of the Westminster Parliament.

I’ll keep a close eye on these constitutional developments relating to the Scottish referendum.

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