The Electoral Commission has said it will not examine any proposed referendum question drawn up on behalf of the pro-union parties. Labour, the Tories and Lib Dems have asked an expert panel to compose a question which would be submitted to the commission for testing. But the commission said only the “relevant government” could propose a question. The SNP said the decision was a humiliation for the pro-union campaign.
The panel includes academics Dr Matt Qvortrup and Lord Sutherland, along with elections expert Ron Gould. Lord Sutherland, who is to chair the panel, said at its launch on Tuesday that the referendum “requires a clear, understandable, and unbiased question. For this to be done and seen to be done, it is essential to seek the help of the Electoral Commission”. But in a statement released on Wednesday, Electoral Commissioner John McCormick said: “As we said in our consultation response it’s for the relevant government to propose a question.