LONDON, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- It's essential that any referendum on Scottish independence be conducted in a way that makes its legal basis unchallengeable, a British lawmaker said.
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond announced plans early this year for a referendum on independence from the United Kingdom in 2014.
A 1997 referendum established the Scottish Parliament. The measure states that any changes to the Constitution should be decided by lawmakers, notes the House of Commons.
Ian Davidson, chairman of the House Scottish Affairs Committee, said lawmakers from London and Edinburgh should both agree on the form of the referendum to avoid legal challenges.
"With a consensus for a referendum on separation, it is essential that any ballot is held on an unchallengeable legal and moral basis," he said in a statement.
Davidson's committee said moving forward "on a dubious legal basis" would leave Scottish independence tied up in the courts. He said the Scottish government maintains that it's legally competent to set up the referendum but London hasn't found evidence to support the claim.
"While delay may be attractive to those anticipating defeat, any effort to stall or derail the process will not be in Scotland's best interest," he added.
Scottish lawmakers voted in favor of the referendum in May.
"In Scotland sovereignty rests with the people and in the autumn of 2014 the people will have their say in Scotland's independence referendum," Salmond said.