Opinion Former

Scottish Government has “stronger mandate” to decide referendum question

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Electoral Reform Society logo

As controversy mounts over Westminster’s plans to set the terms of the mooted Scottish independence referendum the Electoral Reform Society Scotland has called on the government to accept that Holyrood has the “stronger mandate” to decide on the referendum question.

Willie Sullivan, Director of Electoral Reform Society Scotland said:

“Both sides clearly want to fight this referendum on terrain most favourable to them. The key test here can’t be about which side benefits most from setting the question or date - but on which body has the greatest democratic legitimacy to do so.

“The scales seem to tip in favour of the elected Government of Scotland and the Scottish Parliament. Westminster is a Parliament elected using an antiquated and unrepresentative system that does not adequately demonstrate the breadth of political views in Scotland.

“It would seem the Scottish parliament has the stronger mandate to debate and decide the referendum proposition and timing, with the Electoral Commission ruling on the final question and the operation of the referendum. We acknowledge there are legal issues to be addressed so its essential both Governments ensure any vote is not open to obvious legal challenge.

“The people of Scotland deserve clarity and to have their choice respected”

Acknowledging that any future settlement is a concern for the whole of the UK Willie Sullivan added:

“Once the Scottish people have expressed their views then Westminster can have her say” 

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