Government change referendum vote question

The Scottish Government has agreed to change the question it will put to voters in next year's independence referendum, after concerns that its preferred version could be biased towards a Yes vote.

First Minister Alex Salmond had proposed to ask:

"Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?"

However, the independent elections watchdog, the Electoral Commission, said using the phrase was felt "to be biased towards a Yes outcome and potentially leading people towards a Yes vote".

The Scottish Government has accepted the commission's recommendation that the question should now be:

"Should Scotland be an independent country? Yes/No."

"I'm 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."

– Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

"Any referendum question must be, and be seen to be, neutral. People told us that they felt the words 'Do you agree' could lead voters towards voting Yes.

"People also felt that that 'Do you agree' was biased towards a Yes vote because it is easier to agree with something than to disagree."

– John McCormick, Electoral Commissioner for Scotland, said:

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Referendum vote change

The Scottish Government has agreed to change the question it will put to voters in next year's independence referendum