A QUARTER of the responses to a UK Government consultation on the Scottish independence referendum came from a “standard text” on the Labour party website, Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has said.
The Liberal Democrat UK coalition minister, pictured, said that of the 3,000 or so responses to “The Referendum on Separation for Scotland” consultation, 740 contained text which matched wording on the Labour party website.
However, he said this didn’t concern him because it was “consistent with a number of others from across Scotland who are also in favour of a single question”.
It was revealed the UK consultation found 75% of respondents agreed there should be a single question on Scotland’s constitutional status.
Mr Moore said the consultation “confirms support for the Government’s approach to the referendum, that we need to have a legal, fair and decisive referendum”.
He said: “Three-quarters are saying there needs to be a single question and a very strong majority said that they want to have the referendum sooner rather than later.”
The standard text on the Labour website states the independence vote should be “legal, fair, and decisive” and that “there should only be one question”.
Mr Moore said the SNP has a standard text on its website “that talks about wanting to have two questions and allowing the timetable to run to 2014”.
First Minister Alex Salmond has expressed his preference for a single question in the referendum.
The message on the SNP site reads: “I support the suggested wording of the question: ‘Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country’. This is clear and fair. I agree that the referendum should be held in autumn 2014.”
The text does not mention a second question but other pages on the site state the SNP Government is “willing to include a devo-max (enhanced devolution) option” on the paper.
Mr Moore rejected Scottish Government Strategy Minister Bruce Crawford’s call for the UK consultation to be subject to “independent scrutiny”.
He said: “I’m very happy that we’ve got a good reflection of what people across Scotland think about these issues.”
The Scottish Government consultation, which has received almost 12,000 responses, ends in May.