The Straits Times
Published on Oct 15, 2012

British, Scottish leaders to sign deal on independence vote


EDINBURGH (AFP) - Britain's prime minister and Scotland's first minister are to approve plans on Monday for a referendum on Scottish independence, in a move that could lead to the breakup of Great Britain after 300 years.

Premier David Cameron, who opposes a Scottish breakaway, will ink the deal in Edinburgh with Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond, firing the starting gun on two years of campaigning that will pitch them on opposite sides.

After months of negotiations, London is expected to give Scotland's administration the power to conduct the referendum in the autumn of 2014, offering Scots a straight yes-no question on leaving the United Kingdom.

"Scotland's two governments have come together to deliver a referendum that will be legal, fair and decisive," Mr Cameron is expected to say.