Scottish Government details process for referendum question


First Minister, Alex Salmond, has detailed the process which will be used to determine the question, or questions, in the independence referendum.

In a letter to Ruth Davison, copied to the other opposition leaders and to Margo Macdonald MSP, the First Minister confirmed that the Electoral Commission will take on the role of advising on and testing of the referendum question.

The arrangements in place in Scotland will therefore be identical to those for other referendums in the UK under the Westminster Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.

The Government will respond to the consultation and propose the question or questions, the Electoral Commission will then advise on, and test the intelligibility of the question(s) including the recommendation of any changes and the Scottish Parliament will then decide as part of the process of legislation.

The First Minister said

“The Government has laid out a process of determining the question or questions in the referendum which gives a central role to the independent Electoral Commission.

“It follows a process which is identical to that in current Westminster legislation and confirms that Scotland’s referendum will meet the highest international standards.

“By accepting the central role of the Electoral Commission we have accepted the requests previously put forward by the opposition parties.

“However the referendum will still meet the requirement of being made in Scotland with the Government responding to the Scottish consultation, the Electoral Commission advising and recommending potential changes and Parliament deciding as part of the legislative process.”