Nationalists and Unionists are battling it out as decisions as to who should vote in the referendum on Scottish independence and when such a referendum should take place. The debate is becoming increasingly heated as important decisions are set to be decided at the end of January. David Cameron is set to confront Scotland’s First Minister after receiving new legal advice that Mr Salmond cannot hold a referendum without permission from Westminster. It is thought that The Prime Minister will seek to use this new legal advice to prevent Alec Salmond from deciding on when the vote takes place. The SNP have been looking at the possibility of staging the referendum in 2014 which will to be the 700th anniversary of the greatest Scottish defeat of the English at the Battle of Bannockburn, in the hope that the reminder Scottish military success may bolster support for independence. In contrast David Cameron is advocating that the referendum takes place as soon as possible and has asserted that uncertainty over Scotland’s status may undermine economic confidence in the country. In addition Cameron is calling for proceedings to be run by the Electoral Commission. A further bone of contention between the two leaders is the options that the electorate will be asked to choose between. Cameron and his party are in favour of a simple in or out question while Salmond wants to see full independence as well as an ‘independence-light’option on the ballot paper. There is also the question of who should be allowed to vote. A proposal has been put forward in the House of Lords to open the votes up to Scots, born in Scotland, but who are now residing in other parts of the UK. This would see around 750,000 Scots living in England, Ireland and Wales added to the 3.99 million electorate resident in Scotland. This is being seen as some as a way to increase votes in favour of the English/Scottish Union, as, so the thinking goes Scots that have settled in other parts of the UK may be more inclined to opt for a Scotland which is part of the UK. The SNP have hit back, with a spokesperson saying “It is the height of absurdity that unelected peers in the House of Lords should try to lay down the law about the democratic referendum we will have in Scotland. Labour had their chance to govern Scotland – and were comprehensively rejected in May 2011. “The draft referendum bill, published by the Scottish Government in February 2010, follows the precedent of the 1997 devolution referendum: eligibility to vote is based on the franchise for Scottish Parliament elections. This is consistent with the internationally accepted principle that constitutional referendums should have a franchise determined by residency.” The issue of who can vote and when the vote should be held are set to be debated up until the end of January. The stand-off between the two was compared by a senior Whitehall official as a ‘giant game of constitutional poker’ and it will be interesting to see what the next move will be.