LONDON, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- British Prime Minister David Cameron and Scottish leader Alex Salmond on Monday signed an agreement in Edinburgh to hold a referendum on Scottish independence in autumn 2014.
The prime minister "signed a historic deal with Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond granting Holyrood the power to hold a historic referendum on independence," read a statement issued by Downing Street.
Speaking in Edinburgh, Cameron said the agreement "marks the beginning of an important chapter in Scotland's story and allows the real debate to begin."
"It paves the way so that the biggest question of all can be settled: a separate Scotland or a United Kingdom? ... It is now up to the people of Scotland to make that historic decision. The very future of Scotland depends on their verdict," he said.
The referendum will ask the Scottish people above the age of 16 with just a single Yes/No question of whether they want Scotland, home to some five million people, to become an independent country or stay within the United Kingdom.
It is understood the deal will also commit both sides to working together constructively in the best interests of the people of Scotland, whatever the outcome of the referendum.
"The agreement I expect to reach with the prime minister is one which ensures that not only is the referendum made in Scotland, but that the fundamental right of the people of Scotland to choose their own future is respected by all," Salmond said.
Cameron, meanwhile, opposed Scotland's push, arguing that Britain was stronger together.