First Minister Alex Salmond launches referendum consultation

The First Minister is to launch the consultation for a referendum on Scottish independence at Holyrood on Wednesday afternoon.

Alex Salmond will outline the Government's proposals for running the referendum in a statement to parliament just after 1.30pm.

Afterwards, Mr Salmond will hold a press conference in the Great Hall at Edinburgh Castle accompanied by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Government Strategy Secretary Bruce Crawford.

The SNP leader is reportedly considering holding the independence referendum on a Saturday in a bid to boost voter turnout. The SNP also plans to give 16 and 17-year-olds the opportunity to vote in the referendum, which is set to take place in autumn 2014.

Humza Yousaf, the party's youngest MSP, said: "The vote on Scotland's constitutional future will be one of the biggest decisions we will ever make as a country. It will be a truly historic day when people are given the chance to choose independence and equality for their country.

"That is why I welcome looking at options on how to boost the number of people who vote and I look forward to hearing the details when the First Minister announces the consultation document on Wednesday."

On the consultation itself, he said: "This document will give people the chance to judge the Scottish Government's proposals and submit their views on how they want the referendum to be run. But we firmly believe the referendum must be built in Scotland and the decision must be made by the people of Scotland.

"It will be a defining point in Scotland's history so it is vital that those from all political sides in this country are given the best opportunity to come and make their voices heard."

Commenting before the detailed proposals for running the referendum will be published a spokesperson for the First Minister said: "This is a big day for Scotland, as we publish our detailed proposals for the referendum and consult with the people.

"Scotland is moving forward, and we look forward to the great debate that lies ahead. The Scottish Government and people across Scotland believe that we can and will make a compelling case for independence with the powers we need to build an economically-successful and socially-just nation. While others disagree, we do come together on the democratic principle that it is a decision for Scotland to make. And the referendum must also be made in Scotland.

"We will set out our detailed proposals for running the referendum in the consultation document, which will be entirely fair, and we encourage people to submit their views."
 

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