The Electoral Commission has waded into the debate on Scottish independence by requesting to vet the question for a new Scottish independence vote.
The Commission has made clear, in a written submission, that it would still want to assess the wording of the question even if it was the same one used in the September 2014 referendum on Scottish independence, Presstv Reported.
The Electoral Commission’s hardline position is likely to elicit a strong response from the Scottish government.
In late June Scottish government officials said that Scottish ministers will not need to “consult” the Electoral Commission for a new independence vote.
Scottish officials had based their position on the Referendums (Scotland) Bill, which was ratified by the Scottish Parliament (Holyrood) in May.
According to the Scottish government, this new legislation removes the Electoral Committee’s watchdog role as long as the referendum question is the repeat of the one used for the 2014 poll.
This fresh row, between the Electoral Commission and the Scottish government, comes in the wake of renewed calls for a Scottish independence referendum, referred to as indyref2.
Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has repeatedly called for a referendum in the second half of 2020.
Sturgeon, who is also the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), appears determined to leverage a no-deal Brexit to achieve her party’s goal of Scottish independence.
The latest row, between the Scottish government and the British establishment, is unfolding in a febrile political atmosphere where a hard Brexit, and by extension Scottish independence, are looking increasingly inevitable.
Writing in the Guardian on August 9th, the veteran British journalist, Simon Jenkins, describes Scottish independence as “inevitable” and calls for “planning” to mitigate the resulting political and economic fallout.
Describing Boris Johnson as a gift to Scottish independence, Jenkins casts the new Tory leader in a “long line” of Westminster leaders who have ignored the “progressive disintegration” of the “first British empire”.
Despite the growing momentum for Scottish independence, the British establishment is not expected to throw in the towel just yet.
Former British diplomat and committed Scottish nationalist, Craig Murray, has described the Electoral Commission’s intervention as a form of “bureaucratic obstructionism” designed to “apply the handbrake” on growing calls for a fresh independence poll.