The Scottish National Party said that Scottish Secretary Michael Moore was in an "ever more lonely place" over his personal position that two referendums on independence would be required, as University of Edinburgh and Constitution Unit academic Alan Trench said on BBC Radio Scotland this morning that this proposal was "very problematic" (having been a supporter of the idea), while former Lib Dem councillors who have defected to the SNP said that the Lib Dems have become "the Tories' face in Scotland".
And in the Scotsman newspaper today Professor Stephen Tierney, Director of the Centre for Constitutional Law at Edinburgh University, said that: "But let's be clear, there is no constitutional requirement for a second referendum following negotiations."
Commenting on Alan Trench's remarks, SNP Campaign Director Angus Robertson MP said: "Michael Moore has blundered into this, and finds himself in an ever more lonely place, as Alan Trench - who has been an advocate of Mr Moore's idea - says that he is “unhappy with the implications of a two-referendum approach”, and that it is “politically very problematic”. “It is a daft idea without constitutional precedent, and very bad politics for the Lib Dems in Scotland."
South of Scotland SNP MSP, Chic Brodie, who was a member of the Liberals and LibDems for 36 years, a former member of their Scottish Executive, and stood aside for the SDP's Roy Jenkins to fight and win the Glasgow Hillhead by-election in 1983, said:
"The Lib Dems have gone from the party of federalism in Scotland to a ridiculous Tory notion called 'muscular unionism'. No wonder so many former Lib Dem supporters voted SNP in the election, and why elected Lib Dem members are now moving to the SNP.
"This is the latest example of a party which now has no principles. We've seen it with tuition fees, with VAT and with their support for Tory cuts. We saw it when they said they wanted to abolish the position of Scottish Secretary, then comfortably took up the role of the Tories' man in Scotland. Now we are seeing them abandon their support for maximum devolution."
A former LibDem councillor in Renfrewshire Cllr Marie McGurk, who joined the SNP in May and is now an SNP councillor, said:
"It was LibDem MPs from Scotland giving up on their principles and allying with the Tories in London that led me to join the SNP. They left me unable, in all conscience, to continue my membership of the party.
"The comments by Michael Moore just show I right I was. I am sure this latest example of abandoning liberal democratic principles will be the last straw for many other LibDem members."
Another former LibDem councillor from Renfrewshire who also defected to the SNP last month, Cllr Mike Dillon, said:
"Instead of supporting the Scottish Government to acquire the powers for the Scottish Parliament, which they previously supported, the LibDems at Westminster have just become spokespersons for David Cameron's Tory-led government. Sadly, the Lib Dems are now just the Tories' face in Scotland.
"Many LibDem members will now be questioning what has happened to the party under the likes of Michael Moore and Danny Alexander. They will be seriously questioning if they can continue with so many sell outs of long held principles just to be in office with the Tories at Westminster."
Cllr Glynis Sinclair, a former LibDem turned independent in the Highlands who joined the SNP last month, said:
"It is never easy to change to another political party but it became clear, even before the last Westminster election, that the Liberal Democrats were losing touch with ordinary people in the Highlands.
"Michael Moore's comments just show how they have gone from being the Highland party of Home Rule to one that bears more resemblance to the Tory Party which ignored Scotland's wishes in the 1980s and 1990s.
"I can see many remaining members of the LibDems asking just why their party cannot even stand up for their own policies on more powers for the Scottish Parliament."
1. On BBC Radio Good Morning Scotland today, Alan Trench said: "I have to say I find myself unhappy with the implications of a two-referendum approach. I think that while constitutionally it has a good deal to be said for it, politically it's very problematic."
2. [Michael] Moore said: "We will not be bringing forward a referendum ourselves, it's entirely a matter for the Scottish Government."
Press Association, 8th May 2011
3. Professor Matt Qvortrup has been described as the "world's leading expert on referendums".
Professor Qvortrup, in the Scotsman of 29th March 2007:
"There has been a great deal of debate and discussion in recent times over the question of the Scottish Parliament holding a referendum on independence. Like any other parliament, the Scottish Parliament would be quite entitled to do so if its members so desired.
"In the United Kingdom, all referendums are advisory, though if the Scottish people did vote for independence in a referendum that met normal democratic standards, Westminster would be obliged to recognise that result.
"There are no examples of two referendums being held before independence was granted."
Professor Stephen Tierney - comments in the Scotsman.