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MPs seek 'answers' on independence

A Commons committee has called for clarity on the "unanswered" questions of Scottish independence.

A report by the Scottish Affairs Select Committee, which is dominated by pro-Union party MPs, said details are needed on bank regulation, pension payments, the national currency, membership of international organisations, Scotland's defences and the "cost of separation".

The inquiry asked what the share of national debt will be, how North Sea oil revenues will be defined and what the credit rating will be.

MPs also asked if Scottish citizens could access NHS treatment south of the border and whether a passport will be required for travel. Other avenues included the status of the monarch and whether Scotland should remain in the Commonwealth.

The inquiry began in October last year, with an aim to look at the potential impact of independence, following a ballot due to be held in autumn 2014. A second inquiry was set up to look at the process and mechanics of holding the referendum. The committee will hold more inquiry sessions on the report's themes.

MPs also want Scottish Secretary Michael Moore to help provide "factual and unbiased information to the people of Scotland".

The SNP branded the report "predictably pejorative" and an embarrassment to the authors, arguing that the inquiry has been overtaken by events.

Submissions were received by November 11, about two months before First Minister Alex Salmond and Prime Minister David Cameron launched their own public consultations on the referendum.

Committee chairman Ian Davidson said responses showed "confusion" about the terms of what he called a divorce settlement. "Questions that may seem trivial at first actually show just how this issue permeates through every aspect of life: from the television you watch, to how you travel round the world," he said.

"You cannot ask a big question about separation, however you construct it, without first asking and answering all these questions about how it will affect every aspect of every life, in Scotland and the UK as a whole."


From Belfast Telegraph