Experts slam ‘biased’ referendum question
Call to draft ‘clear and neutral’ question
THE Scottish Government’s proposed question for the referendum on independence is “biased” towards a yes vote, MPS said today.
The House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee has concluded that the question “Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?” is “leading” and “biased toward towards a Yes answer”.
In a report released today the committee has called on all parties to come together immediately to draft a “clear and neutral” question, which can then be put through “exhaustive” testing by the Electoral Commission.
Among the experts and institutions consulted on the committee were the Electoral Commission, Ipsos MORI, the NOtoAV Campaign, ICM Research, ComRes, The Electoral Reform Society and referendum expert Dr Matt Qvortrup.
The report stated: “Based on the evidence, we have no choice but to conclude that the question: Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country? is biased. Experts told us that this was a leading question, biased towards a Yes answer.
“This referendum must be, and be seen to be, fair and acceptable to those on both sides of the argument. It is essential that the result commands wide acceptance.
“We recommend that all parties approach the Electoral Commission now, so that proposed question wordings can be tested.”
Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Parliamentary Business Bruce Crawford said: “Given that this committee can’t even get the name of the Scottish Government’s policy right, this exercise is devoid of credibility.
“The Scottish Government’s proposed referendum question is straightforward and fair.”