Reason for delay in legal advice "pretty implausible"

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has described the Scottish Government’s reason for not seeking EU legal advice earlier as ‘pretty implausible’.

The Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the recently signed Edinburgh Agreement "provides the exact context of the process of obtaining independence" and meant they could only now seek specific legal advice. Mr Moore said the referendum agreement had "no bearing on whether an independent Scotland would automatically become a member of the European Union."

Mr Moore said that difference the Referendum Agreement makes is that the Scottish people will be demanding straight answers from both sides of the debate. He highlighted currency and defence as other areas where the Scottish Government need to replace assertions with facts.

Michael Moore said:

"The referendum agreement provides the framework to allow the Scottish Parliament to legislate for an independence referendum that is legal, fair and decisive. It has no bearing on whether an independent Scotland would automatically become a member of the European Union. To suggest that an agreed referendum process finally cleared the path to asking for EU legal advice is pretty implausible.

"What has changed because of the referendum agreement is that the Scottish people know they have a crucial decision to make in 2014 and they want straight answers from both sides of the debate.

"It is no longer good enough to wish your way to independence. The landscape has changed and people will not accept ducking and diving on something this important. If Scotland is to leave the UK then people deserve to know what our currency arrangements will be, who will regulate our banks and what our defence forces will look like."