A standing framework for referendums is a normal and reasonable thing for a Government and Parliament to have at their disposal. Wh en ministers bring forward proposals for a referendum, it will be for Parliament as a whole to decide and vote on those matters.
In the years to come, this Government, or any Government, can bring forward questions in a referendum.
Let us be absolutely clear about this: it is for the Scottish Parliament, not Tory politicians at Westminster, to decide whether there should be an independence referendum in Scotland. That position is consistently supported by a clear majority of people in Scotland, and it is time that the Tories started supporting this Parliament, instead of undermining it.
The citizens assembly has been framed as a space for open discussion and balanced debate, but how can that be possible when the Government has introduced a referendum bill and has thereby so clearly indicated what it sees as the inevitable conclusion of the assembly’s discussions? How can we have meaningful debate about Scotland and the UK’s constitutional future when there are clear implications for other nations?
In addition to those questions—
The citizens assembly will run parallel to the process and, as far as I have seen, the approach has been widely welcomed, by most people. I repeat the point that Mr Russell made and ask all parties and wider Scotland to get involved and help to shape the assembly. That is in the interests of all of us.