Moore urges open debate on independence

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independence is too important an issue to be a subject for silence, Scottish Secretary Michael Moore said in his New Year message today.

He called for “an open and frank debate” and said the SNP’s victory in May’s Holyrood elections meant everyone in Scotland would soon have to decide where they stood on staying in the UK or becoming a separate country.

He said: “It will be the most important political decision that the Scottish people will ever make. Everyone is entitled to their view and it is particularly important that experts in different fields are listened to respectfully, even if they are not agreed with.

“I do not believe people will be neutral on this issue next year, given the great uncertainty it generates. It is too important – and potentially irreversible – a subject for silence.”

Mr Moore said the Scotland Bill would become law next year, transferring the largest ever set of financial powers to the Scottish Parliament.

“This will trigger a different kind of devolution with much greater financial accountability for MSPs at Holyrood,” he said.

He said top priority for both the UK and Scottish governments in 2012 should be youth unemployment.