Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP Dave Thompson has welcomed plans from the Scottish Government for the country’s independence referendum to be held in the autumn of 2014.
Mr Thompson urged everyone in his constituency to get involved and join the debate on the most significant political and social change in Scotland for three centuries.
Mr Thompson said: “People from Skye to the Black Isle and across Badenoch and Lochaber will have the exciting opportunity to join the rest of Scotland in voting in a referendum on Scotland's future in 2014.
"This will be the most important improvement to how Scotland is governed for centuries and it is vital that this decision is taken by the people of Scotland so I hope everyone will take part.”
The MSP added: “Since the SNP’s unprecedented landslide victory at the Scottish Parliament election last May, giving a clear mandate for delivery of this policy, it has been clear that there will be a referendum on independence towards the second half of the current parliamentary term.
“In recent weeks we have seen members of the Tories, Lib Dems and Labour reverse their previous opposition to consulting the people of Scotland in a referendum.
"Now they are falling over themselves to be seen to facilitate a referendum which they claim should be held in haste but the SNP is sticking to its election promise to hold the referendum in the second half of this parliament to allow time for the merits of independence to be debated in full."
Mr Thomspon said that it was also right that 16 and 17 year olds should be allowed to vote in the referendum.
He said: "The SNP has long believed that people who are entitled by law to work full time, get married and pay taxes should have a say in how their country is run and in the future of that country.
“It is absolutely vital therefore that our 16 and 17 year olds have a say in the biggest single decision Scotland will have taken in 300 years. Our young people are our future, they have a right to express their view at the ballot box.
“Above all, this is a matter for Scotland. The people gave the SNP a mandate to run this referendum. The Tories, Lib-Dems and Labour would do well to come to terms with that fact and respect the people’s decision.”