Referendum agreement to be signed

Leaders of the Scottish and UK Governments are looking forward to debating the "big issues" of Scottish independence as Holyrood and Westminster prepare to finalise an agreement on the holding of a referendum.

The Prime Minister is expected to sign a deal with Scotland's First Minister on Monday granting the Scottish Parliament the power to stage the historic vote.

David Cameron will meet Alex Salmond in Edinburgh following months of negotiations about the ballot, expected to be held in autumn 2014.

Mr Salmond's deputy Nicola Sturgeon said the agreement would allow opposing campaigners to focus on the issues at the heart of the debate.

Ms Sturgeon told Sky News: "The good thing about getting the process issues out of the way, which we'll do tomorrow, is that we can get on to that substantive debate about why Scotland would be better as an independent country."

Ms Sturgeon said negotiations with Scottish Secretary Michael Moore had been "constructive" and both sides had made compromises.

The ballot is likely to be limited to a single Yes-No option. Suggestions of a second question on further devolution, short of independence, were firmly opposed by the UK Government. The referendum is expected to be open to 16 and 17-year-olds as supported by the Nationalists.

"If you consider issues over the timing, the question, the franchise, all issues which at the start of the year David Cameron was making noises about...all of these things will now be determined by the Scottish Parliament. I think that is a very good outcome," Ms Sturgeon told the Murnaghan show.

Mr Moore said the agreement would produce a referendum that would be "legal, fair and decisive".

The Liberal Democrat told BBC One's Sunday Politics show: "I think it's a good agreement. I believe it will now allow us to put up in lights the big issues about the big debate...on what is best for Scotland."