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It is possible that the new Prime Minister who will take over this year (if Blair keeps his promise to retire this year), will hold an early election to take advantage of any honeymoon he may have with the electorate.

The Scottish Parliament election will take place next May. For an independence referendum to be possible the SNP would need to assemble a coalition prepared to support the necessary legislation. This will not necessarily be easy, even if the SNP has had its best election result ever.

However on the assumption that the Scottish Parliament votes for a referendum (and further assuming the UK government does not challenge the legality as a referendum law may well be outside the powers granted to the Scottish Parliament) the referendum would probably take place in either the spring or autumn of next year.

If the referendum passes then, based on what happened in the eighteenth century, treaty negotiations would probably take about a year. Then the treaty would have to be ratified by both Westminster and Holyrood, before the Acts of Disunion were passed. I suspect it would be 2010 before the formalities were complete, unless there was a political decision to speed up the timetable.

by Gary J on Thu Jan 18th, 2007 at 02:03:27 PM EST
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May 2009 is a likely election date, based on recent practice, but an election is not required under current law before June 2010 (five years after the current Parliament first met after the 2005 election).

It would also be possible to legislate to extend the term of the current Parliament. It would be crazy to hold a UK general election on the usual schedule, if the Scottish members were going to leave Westminster in three months.

by Gary J on Thu Jan 18th, 2007 at 02:16:57 PM EST
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