Submitting STUC’s response to the UK Government’s referendum consultation Grahame Smith, General Secretary said:
“Our response recognises the enormous value of clarifying through legislation the right of the Scottish Government to legislate for an independence referendum.
“A number of legitimate concerns have been raised over timing, eligibility, oversight and the potential for an additional referendum option. But STUC does not consider it appropriate to place pre-conditions within the Section 30 Order.
“STUC does not oppose a 2014 referendum and sees some advantages to this timescale which would allow for the resolution of all matters of process, for ensuring the proper legal basis for the referendum is clearly established, and for ensuring that the people of Scotland are able to engage in the widest possible debate on the constitutional future of our country.
“Whilst recognising practical difficulties with respect to extending the voting age to include 16 and 17 year olds, STUC supports in principle the view that 16 and 17 year olds should be entitled to vote.
“STUC has called for the creation of an independent commission to advise on matters relating to the referendum but also notes that if all matters pertaining to the referendum can be appropriately advised upon by the Electoral Commission the need for an independent commission would recede. This judgment will be partly dependent upon the process for framing a ‘third option’ if that becomes a reality.
“We acknowledge that the framing of an ‘enhanced devolution’ third referendum option would be no easy task. However STUC is strongly of the belief that to rule out such an option at this stage would be inappropriate and would unnecessarily close of an option which Scots have consistently been favourable towards.”
For further information contact Dave Moxham 0141 337 8100