The Scottish Nationalist Party Tuesday presented its programme for holding a referendum on independence from the rest of Britain, beginning with a "national conversation" on the move.
The plan was presented by the SNP's First Minister Alex Salmond, who declared in the Scottish parliament that "no change is no longer an option," and that a white paper of proposals set out the "full range of options" to be debated.
The opposition parties of Labour, Tories and Liberal Democrats who hold a majority in the parliament, have united to oppose the plan. The SNP, backed by the Greens, has been running a minority government since May elections.
Salmond said the proposals set out three "realistic" choices - the present system of devolved government with London retaining power over defence, foreign policy and other key areas; redefining devolution by extending the Scottish parliament's powers in certain areas; or full independence.
The proposals of the SNP - which pledged in the May election to hold an independence referendum by 2010 - include a draft of wording for a referendum ballot paper.
Voters would be asked whether to agree or disagree "that the Scottish government should negotiate a settlement with the Government of the United Kingdom so that Scotland becomes an independent state."
Labour, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats already closed ranks Monday to say the plan would damage Scotland by creating division and uncertainty.
The May election saw the SNP - a prominent member of which is former James Bond star Sean Connery - win 47 of the parliament's 129 seats, one more than Labour, which had ruled until then.
Last Mod: 15 Ağustos 2007, 00:45