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Governments will miss independence watchdog cutoff

December 20th had been set as the cutoff point but both administrations have missed it. Picture: Neil Hanna

December 20th had been set as the cutoff point but both administrations have missed it. Picture: Neil Hanna

BOTH Holyrood and Westminster are set to miss Friday’s election watchdog cutoff date to determine what will happen following the referendum on Scottish independence.

The Electoral Commission asked both governments to reach an agreed position on the processes after the vote, whatever the outcome.

The body put forward proposals setting the rules for the referendum, which were accepted by both sides.

On September 18th 2014, voters in Scotland will be asked to respond with ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the question: ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’

One of the Electoral Commission’s recommendations was that both Westminster and Holyrood work together to clarify what will happen after the referendum, whether the vote is ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.

The watchdog said there was a public desire for that type of factual information, which was last week reviewed by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and Scottish Secretary Alastair Carmichael, who are expected to meet again in the new year.

John McCormick, Electoral Commissioner for Scotland, said his organisation had asked for the joint agreement by December 20th, to coincide with the expectation that Holyrood’s Referendum Bill, outlining the terms of the vote, would become law on gaining Royal Assent.

He told the BBC: “Now that we have Royal Assent, we would like this clarity to be provided as soon as possible and we understand from both governments that progress is being made.

“In the interests of voters we would ask that every effort is made to reach agreement early in the New Year.”

Westminster has said that any agreement will not pre-negotiate the terms of independence.

 

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