Great news today that The Electoral Reform Society have spoken out for the principle that no strings should be attached by the UK Government to Scotland’s referendum.

The ERS, which describes itself as “an independent campaigning organisation to champion the rights of voters and improve UK democracy”, says it examined legislation, took on board opinions and spoke to experts before coming to its conclusion.

In today’s Herald newspaper the ERS’s Juliet Swann is quoted: “We are recommending the Scottish Parliament be provided with a no-strings-attached legal mandate to call a referendum at a time and with a question or questions of their choosing.”

And she added: “The Society supports votes for 16 and 17-year-olds.”

Welcoming the comments, Stewart Maxwell, SNP MSP for West Scotland and member of the Scotland Bill Committee, said:

“The ERS have spoken to experts and pored over legislation before coming to the conclusion that attaching strings is unacceptable and the referendum should be decided by the Scottish people and the Scottish parliament.

“This is welcome backing from an organisation that is fighting to improve UK democracy and championing the rights of voters.

“Only yesterday, constitutional expert Matt Qvortrup said the UK Government should back off from threatening legal action by the UK Supreme Court.

“The question now is will Westminster listen to these growing calls for the referendum to be made in Scotland and decided by the people of Scotland?

“I am also delighted that the ERS wants 16 and 17-year-olds to vote, endorsing the SNP’s stance for young adults to be able to vote in all elections.

“Young adults of this age should be given the right to have their say on Scotland’s future.

“In the face of this growing evidence that the referendum belongs to the people of Scotland, the anti-independence parties must rethink their stance and put the democratic rights of the people of Scotland at the top of their priorities.”