Thursday, September 03, 2015

EU referendum: Durham University professor 'delighted' at decision to change question

This piece is in the next issue of Newcastle's Evening Chronicle and The Journal following on from my big news yesterday READ HERE:

Durham University professor Thom Brooks was one of two academics quoted in the report to the Electoral Commission

A Durham University academic has welcomed the changing of the planned EU referendum question after campaigning on the issue.

David Cameron has accepted voters should be asked to choose between the options to “remain a member of the European Union” or “leave the European Union”.

The Electoral Commission said the wording proposed by ministers - “should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union?” (which would prompt a Yes/No response) - could be perceived as biased to the status quo.

Durham University’s Professor Thom Brooks said he was pleased as he was one of only two academics quoted in the Commission’s report.

Professor Brooks said the wording was inconsistent with other recent referendum questions like the vote on AV nationally and the independence vote in Scotland. He argued that in both cases a vote for “yes” was for changes and “no” was for no change, and that this could mean the question is biased. The Electoral Commission agreed.

Professor Brooks said: ‘I’m delighted to see the Electoral Commission make these recommendations.
“This is an important vote and it’s crucial to get the referendum question right. It’s now up to the government to take the next step. But I expect they’ll endorse these recommendations in full.”


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