"Unacceptable" to hold EU & Scots vote on same day
Commenting following David Cameron’s failure to rule out holding the EU referendum on the same day as next year’s Scottish elections, SNP Westminster Europe Spokesperson Stephen Gethins said:
“Holding the EU referendum on the same day as the Scottish elections would be simply unacceptable and it is extremely disappointing that David Cameron has failed to rule this out.
“The Electoral Commission has already stated that referendum polling day should not be shared with any other elections - and the UK Government previously signed up to this principle in the Edinburgh Agreement ahead of the independence referendum. Failure to follow this advice now will be a failure to ensure best practice.
“The Scottish Independence Referendum set the gold standard in terms of inclusivity and participation – and given 16 and 17 year olds and most EU nationals will not be able to vote in the EU referendum, Westminster is already falling far short.
“Ironically, Scottish Secretary David Mundell also announced today that Holyrood will be given the power to set the date of the next Scottish election after 2016 in order to avoid a clash with the UK Parliament. He even stated this move ‘will ensure Holyrood elections take place separately from others in future’.
“The Tories must now also rule out holding the EU referendum on the same day as Scotland goes to the polls to elect its MSPs.”
A report from the Electoral Commission published last month stated: “For other high-profile issues likely to attract cross-party campaigning, such as the UK’s membership of the European Union, a referendum should be held on a separate day to other polls.”
The report is available here: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/189609/EU-Referendum-Briefing-2015-05-14.pdf