It is coming up to the sixth anniversary of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, and it remains to be one of the most discussed topics in the country.

Recently, questions have been asked over the 'Edinburgh Agreement', and more specifically whether or not it defines the last referendum as a "once in a generation" vote.

But what is the Edinburgh Agreement, and what does it mean? Here's everything you need to know.

What is the Edinburgh Agreement?

The Edinburgh Agreement is an agreement between the Scottish and UK Government on the terms for the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.


It was signed on October 15, 2012 at St Andrew's House in Edinburgh by Alex Salmond, David Cameron, Michael Moore and Nicola Sturgeon.

What does it say?

According to the legislation, the governments agreed the referendum should: 

  • have a clear legal base
  • be legislated for by the Scottish Parliament
  • be conducted so as to command the confidence of parliaments, governments and people
  • deliver a fair test and a decisive expression of the views of people in Scotland and a result that everyone will respect

What about Section 30?

The agreement meant a Section 30 order was laid in the Scottish Parliament and at Westminster.

READ MORE: Section 30 explained in full

This confirmed Holyrood had the power necessary for the referendum, and ensured that the 2014 vote was designed and run by Scots.

Does it say anything about being 'once in a generation'?

In short, no. One of the only references to timing within the agreement is in paragraph four, where it states that a referendum can be held at any point before the end of 2014.

It also added: "The date of the poll will be for the Scottish Parliament to determine and will be set out in the Referendum Bill to be introduced by the Scottish Government.


"The Order requires the poll for this referendum to be held on a day with no other poll provided for by legislation of the Scottish Parliament."

However, the legislation does state that the governments agree the referendum should "deliver a fair test and a decisive expression to the views of people in Scotland and a result that everyone will respect."

What about the outcome?

The Edinburgh Agreement states the two governments would continue to work together contricrutively on the back of the outcome in the best interests of the people in both Scotland and the rest of the UK.

It says: "The United Kingdom and Scottish Governments are committed, through the Memorandum of Understanding between them and others, to working together on matters of mutual interest and to the principles of good communication and mutual respect.

"The two governments have reached this agreement in that spirit. They look forward to a referendum that is legal and fair producing a decisive and respected outcome.

"The two governments are committed to continue to work together constructively in the light of the outcome, whatever it is, in the best interests of the people of Scotland and of the rest of the United Kingdom."

Where can I read the Edinburgh Agreement?

You can read the Edinburgh Agreement in its entirety here.