Election watchdogs have rocked the referendum debate by demanding David Cameron spell out what voting No would mean for Scotland. The Electoral Commission threw down the gauntlet yesterday to the Prime Minister on more powers for Holyrood. In their recommendations for how the historic vote should be run, they urged both the UK and Scottish Governments to outline their plans for the aftermath of the referendum. As revealed by the Record earlier this week, the experts rejected Alex Salmond’s preferred question for the crunch ballot. They said his wording – “Do you agree Scotland should be an independent country?” – would unfairly encourage people to vote Yes. Instead, they suggested a more neutral wording – “Should Scotland be an independent country?”
But the commission’s most explosive intervention concerned the information that should be provided to voters prior to the referendum in autumn next year.
Electoral Commissioner for Scotland John McCormick said Scots should be told exactly what would happen in the event of both outcomes.
That heaped pressure on Tory PM Cameron, who has hinted the Scottish Parliament could be handed more powers in the wake of a No vote – but has refused to spell out the details.
The Scottish Government have already promised to set out their vision for an independent Scotland in a white paper to be published in November.
But pro-Union campaigners are split on what further powers – if any – should be transferred to Holyrood from Westminster if Scots choose to stay in the UK. So agreeing on a joint vision could prove impossible.
McCormick said: “People had a clear understanding that ‘independent country’ meant being separate from the UK.