SCOTLAND will vote on becoming an independent nation by autumn 2014, as part of a historic deal signed yesterday by David Cameron and First Minister Alex Salmond.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) won a majority of seats in the 2011 Scottish parliament election, with a mandate to hold an independence referendum.
Following months of negotiations the Prime Minister lost his battle to hold the referendum at an earlier date and also agreed that 16 and 17 year olds will have the right to vote.
The SNP failed to secure the inclusion of a third option – “devo-max”, which would stop short of complete independence – on the ballot paper. Instead voters will face a simple choice between staying as part of the UK or striking out alone.
Polls currently show a majority of Scots would prefer to keep the status quo, although many have not yet made up their minds.