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SNP must clear up two question confusion

January 15, 2012 3:56 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP has said the challenge for the SNP in the next ten days, is to set out how they will organise a two-question referendum where the one outcome is remaining in the UK and one is separating from the UK.

Willie Rennie MSPWillie Rennie MSPCommenting Mr Rennie said:

"So far, SNP plans for a multi-option referendum have been dominated by cluttered thinking and flawed logic. Their method for running a referendum with two questions has serious flaws.

"In fact, it runs the risk of giving the opposite result to the one that voters want.

"For example, I showed in October that if 70% of people support Devo-Max and 51% support Independence then Independence wins even though Devo-max is more popular.

"And now I can reveal that, if they follow the 1997 model, if Devo-Max got 49% and Independence 51% then the result would be the status quo. That is because the second question would be dependenton a positive answer from the first. A No vote to the first question knocks out both options. Given that nobody is fully clear what on earth Devo-Max will mean, it's a bit of a risk.

"SNP insiders know that there's a problem. After I raised the problem in October I was emailed and twittered by SNP supporters who said it was "very easy to understand" and then between them, they gave six different suggestions about how it might work.

"Since October no constitutional authority has come forward to support the SNP's proposed method. Even Dr Qvortrup, the expert falsely quoted by the First Minister at FMQs, has recommended thatthe first question is on whether to have any change and the second question is Independence versus Devo-Max. But that breaches the SNP's promise to have a straight Yes/No for independence. Dr Qvortrup's suggestion makes it seven ways to count the votes.

"It is up to the Scottish Government to clear up this confusion before they launch their independence plan in ten days' time."