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Scotland Bill — Committee (5th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:00 pm on 21st March 2012.

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Photo of Lord Wallace of Tankerness Lord Wallace of Tankerness Lords Spokesperson (Attorney General's Office), Lords Spokesperson (Wales Office), The Advocate-General for Scotland, Lords Spokesperson (Scotland Office) 10:00 pm, 21st March 2012

I hear what my noble friend says, but I ask him to reflect him on two points. First, it is my understanding that the Electoral Commission would not necessarily welcome that. Secondly, with regard to the point I was making about the franchise: if one seeks to do something different, what are the rules regarding the relationship between the Electoral Commission and the question under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000? If you try to do something different for a Scottish independence referendum, you could immediately open yourself up to a charge of trying to rig or manipulate it. The advantages of consistency in this area are important.

I am told that the Electoral Commission has not, and does not wish to, set a question as its role is properly to review the question and publish that review, which is important. I do not countenance any situation where the commission would not be engaged, nor where its view on a question would not be made public.