Scottish Greens & Scottish Government accepts recommendations from Electoral Commission.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
The Scottish Government today confirmed it will accept all of
the Electoral Commission recommendations on the referendum question
and campaign spending limits.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was delighted
with the recommended question - 'Should Scotland be an independent
country? Yes/No' - and confirmed that it will be this question that
is put before the Scottish Parliament.
The Deputy First Minister also said she was satisfied with the
recommended spending limits as they provide a level playing field
for both sides of the debate.
Patrick Harvie, MSP for Glasgow and Co-convener of the Scottish
"It seems perfectly reasonable to ask people if Scotland
'should' be independent rather than asking them to 'agree'. And the
funding arrangements seem fair, although I feel this debate can be
advanced by spreading ideas not just splashing cash.
"This is a major milestone which helps us move towards a more
detailed debate on the opportunities for Scotland taking its own
decisions. The Electoral Commission is quite clear that the public
want detailed information about what independence means and what
will happen whatever the result of the vote.
"It is essential for both sides and all parties to engage
positively and constructively with the public over the next twenty
months. Scottish Greens will put forward our vision for how
independence can deliver the fairer and more democratic society
Scots clearly want."
Ms Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister, also said:
"I would like to thank the Electoral Commission for the work
they have done on testing our proposed referendum question and
giving advice on campaign spending limits. I am pleased to confirm
we will accept their recommendations in full.
"I am particularly delighted with the conclusion the Electoral
Commission has reached on the question. While its view is that our
proposed question was clear, simple and easy to understand, I am
nevertheless happy to accept their recommended change.
"Their advice is based on rigorous testing and we will submit
the Electoral Commission's recommended question - 'Should Scotland
be an independent country?' - to the Scottish Parliament as part of
the Referendum Bill.
"I am also pleased with the spending limits proposed by the
Electoral Commission - they deliver a level playing field and will
allow a fair and balanced debate on both sides. I am also
pleased that the Commission has modified the position set out in
their response to our consultation in March, as this would have
resulted in an imbalance between the two sides of the campaign.
"We have always said that Scotland's referendum will be run to
the highest international standards of fairness and transparency,
and the Electoral Commission plays a vital role in that.
"The Scottish Parliament will take the final decision on the
wording of the question and campaign spending limits as part of its
consideration of the Referendum Bill which reinforces that this is
truly a referendum made in Scotland.
"I also welcome the Electoral Commission calls for both the
Scottish and UK Governments to clarify what process will follow the
referendum if most voters vote 'Yes' or most voters vote 'No'
vote. The Electoral Commission rightly point out this is in
line with the Edinburgh Agreement.
"I have been calling for the UK Government to enter discussions
to allow the voters to be better informed, but so far they have
refused. This would not be pre-negotiation on the terms of
independence but vital information for voters that will allow them
to make an informed choice in autumn 2014. Given the Scottish
Government is accepting all recommendations from the Electoral
Commission I would hope that the UK Government is prepared to do
Electoral Commision publication of the assessment: