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Polls open in Scottish independence vote

The polls are open in Scotland as voting gets underway on the referendum for Scottish independence. They close tonight at 10pm with the final results expected Friday morning at about 6am.

Today’s vote marks the first time that 16 and 17-year-olds are eligible to have their say on a national issue.

Polls leading up today indicate there are just two points between the rivals, with the No campaign having the edge on 51% and Yes narrowly behind on 49%. 

Should the Scots vote against independence it is expected that the country shall nevertheless receive more devolved powers from Westminster, with the leaders of the three main parties having signed a pledge to do so. Gordon Brown has taken the lead on the devolution and has been granted an adjournment debate on the new powers on 16 October.

However the devolution of further powers to Scotland is causing controversy in England about the power Scottish Westminster MPs have to vote on issues that only affect England – the so-called West Lothian Question.

Deputy PM Nick Clegg has said that should further devolution occur, there will need to be changes to the way English and Scottish MPs vote, continuing on to say that it did not make sense for Scots MPs to have the same say as English MPs over solely English matters.

There have also been calls for greater devolution to English cities and regions, no matter what Scotland decides. The Core Cities group, representing Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield, have been joined by London mayor Boris Johnson and London Councils in call for greater financial freedom to enable local politicians to direct growth to drive their local and the national economy.

Clegg backed English devolution earlier this week, saying more power must be given to English regions so they can truly “stand on their own two feet”.

(Image: c. AP Photo/Matt Dunham)     

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