The independence referendum question that Scotland will face at the polls in 2014 has been chosen. On Wednesday, the Electoral Commission published its advice on the referendum question proposed by the government, which is: “Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country? Yes/No”. The electoral watchdog rejected the Scottish Government’s proposed independence referendum question recommending that “more neutral wording” is needed. The watchdog found that the clause “Do you agree” was not suitable for the referendum question as it “potentially encouraged people to vote ‘yes’ and should be replaced by more neutral wording”. It recommended that the question should be altered to: “Should Scotland be an independent country? Yes/No”.
Scotland’s Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the Scottish Government would accept the recommendations from the commission in full. The UK Government’s Scottish Secretary Michael Moore confirmed that it was accepting the commission’s recommendations.
Ms Sturgeon 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.”
Mr Moore said: “We accept the Commission’s advice on the clarity of the question, the funding levels for the referendum and on the clarity of the process. The UK Government has always acted on the advice of the Electoral Commission for every previous referendum.