A committee of MPs at Westminster has called on the Coalition Government to give the Scottish Parliament new legal powers to enable them to call a referendum on gaining independence.
At present there is overwhelming evidence that the Scottish Executive does not have the power to commission a referendum on its own.
The Scottish Affairs Select Committee is a House of Commons committee charged with reviewing the expenditure, administration and policies of the Scottish Office at Westminster and the Scottish Parliament.
The committee is currently composed of MPs from the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats, who all favour Scotland remaining part of the union, and is currently operating an inquiry into the referendum on separation for Scotland.
The committee believes that a section 30 order should be used by the UK Government at Westminster to ensure that any referendum held on the issue is legally and morally watertight.
Ian Davidson MP is the committee chairman.
"It is clear from our evidence that the Scottish Parliament has no powers to hold either a binding or an advisory referendum on constitutional change," he told the BBC.
"We believe the best way to proceed is for the Government to propose a detailed and specific Section 30 (S30) notice, giving the Scottish Parliament powers to conduct a referendum on separation," he added.
The Scottish National Party Government at Holyrood wants a referendum on independence in 2014.
"We have always said that we have absolutely no objection to an S30 order in regard to the referendum, so long as no Westminster strings are attached - and an order on that basis could be agreed very shortly," said Bruce Crawford, the SNP cabinet secretary at Holyrood.
A spokesman for the Scotland Office said: "This report supports the position that we need a legal, fair and decisive referendum for the people of Scotland."
"We have an open offer to the Scottish Government to engage with us on securing an S30 order," he added.