Scottish vote question changed

The Scottish Government has agreed to change the wording of the question for the referendum next year on independence after the election watchdog said it was not neutral. It will now be: "Should Scotland be an independent country? Yes/No."

Live updates

Scottish people 'want more clarity' over referendum

The Scottish Government has reiterated its insistence that the Scottish Parliament should have the final say on the wording of the referendum question, although it has accepted the recommendations of the Electoral Commission today.

The Referendum Bill, which sets out the terms of the vote, will be introduced to the Scottish Parliament in March, and needs to be approved for the referendum to go ahead.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and Prime Minister David Cameron signed the agreement setting up the referendum last October. Credit: PA

The Scottish Parliament will also ultimately decide on campaign funding, although Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also accepted the elections watchdog's suggestions today.

It has recommended a limit of £1.5 million of funds from lead campaigners.

The SNP had originally wanted this limit to be set much lower, fearing the ‘Better Together’ campaign will outspend their ‘Yes’ rivals in the run up to the 2014 vote.

The Commission's research also found that people had a clear understanding that 'independent country' meant being separate from the UK, but many wanted factual information about what will happen after the referendum.

It has asked the UK and Scottish Government "to provide that clarity and we'll then make sure it gets to voters as part of our public awareness campaign."

Scottish Govt accepts new referendum question

The Scottish Government says that it accepts the Electoral Commission's recommendation over the wording of the question asked to voters in next year's independence referendum.

The SNP administration confirmed that it will be the election watchdog's suggested question that is put before the Scottish Parliament, for the final say on what voters will be asked in the autumn 2014 referendum.

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.

– Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister


Scottish Govt referendum question 'not neutral'

The elections watchdog says that the question the Scottish Government wants to ask voters in next year's independence referendum would potentially encourage them to vote 'Yes'.

The Electoral Commission says that the wording should be replaced by something more neutral.

  • The SNP administration's proposed wording is: "Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country? Yes / No."
  • The Electoral Commission recommends it should be altered to: "Should Scotland be an independent country? Yes / No."

Scottish Parliament 'will have final say' on question

Scotland's Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has said the Scottish Parliament has the final say on the final referendum question but she told MSPs yesterday that "considerable weight" would be attached to the commission's views.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Credit: Press Assocation

"As with referendums held under UK legislation, it is for the Government to propose the referendum question, the Electoral Commission to test the question and the Parliament to make a final decision," Ms Sturgeon said.

"The Scottish Government will consider the wording of the question, and indeed other matters relating to the conduct of the referendum, in light of the commission's advice and, of course, the Scottish Parliament will have the final say during its scrutiny of the referendum legislation."

She said she has "made very clear the considerable weight that will be attached to the Electoral Commission recommendations by the Scottish Government".

Scottish referendum question verdict due

The elections watchdog will today reveal its verdict on the question the Scottish Government wants to ask voters in next year's independence referendum.

The Electoral Commission will give its verdict today on the SNP's preferred referendum question. Credit: Press Assocation

The Electoral Commission will publish its long-awaited assessment of the SNP administration's preferred question: Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?

The commission will also publish its advice on spending limits for the referendum campaign.

Back to top