Scottish independence: Follow recommendations of election watchdog, warns David Cameron
DAVID Cameron today warned that the SNP Government must follow the recommendations of the country’s independent election watchdog in staging the independence referendum.
• Public trust in SNP has plummeted since row over EU membership, says David Cameron
• Prime Minister said that it was important for Salmond and Sturgeon to clearly state if they would follow independent expert advice of Electoral Commission
• SNP looks set to defy Commission on campaign spending and enforce strict limits amid concerns unionists could outspend pro-independence lobby
The Prime Minister insists that public trust has plummeted in the SNP administration after last week’s row over an independent Scotland’s membership of the EU. It emerged that the Government did not seek legal advice on the issue – despite Alex Salmond previously appearing to indicate it had done so in a TV interview, while ministers also spend thousands of pounds fighting a legal battle to conceal the absence of the advice.
“The SNP’s lack of transparency over whether or not Scottish ministers had sought specific legal advice on which to base their assertions on EU membership makes it all the more important for the First Minister and his deputy to now state clearly whether or not they will follow the independent expert advice of the Electoral Commission in setting the referendum rules,” Mr Cameron wrote in the Mail on Sunday today.
“A categorical assurance from the First Minister would at least start to restore trust in the process, since trust has been the main casualty of this recent row.
“The SNP is a player in the referendum, not its referee, so people would be rightly baffled if, for example, it chose to ignore the Electoral Commission advice about the referendum question.
“The discussion about the referendum rules will set the tone for the big debate about Scotland’s future. The Scottish people deserve clarity.”
But the SNP does look set to defy Electoral Commission recommendations on campaign spending and enforce strict limits, amid concerns that the pro-independence lobby could be outspent by its unionist opponents. Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the Nationalists’ Autumn conference last week that Scotland’s future will not be “bought and sold for anyone’s gold.”
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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