‘We report to Wales too’: Electoral Commission could organise indy referendum without PM’s approval
The Electoral Commission could organise independence referendums for Wales and Scotland even if Westminster was in opposition, its chairman has said.
John Pullinger said that the commission was funded by Wales and Scotland too and any referendum would involve an “independent discussion” with them.
“We have a direct reporting line to the parliaments in Scotland and Wales too,” he told the Telegraph newspaper.
“And, as of April this year, we are directly funded by Scotland and Wales too. So in that sense, there is a very direct relationship.
“So we are not just something which is a body of the UK Parliament, we are separately and at the same time, accountable to the Scottish and Welsh parliaments too.
“They have different agendas, they have fresh mandates at the moment, and we will be working with them to think how we support them with their own parliamentary agendas.”
His remarks come as Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon has said that they could hold a referendum without Westminster’s consent after winning a mandate in May’s Scottish elections.
Asked if such a poll could technically take place even if Boris Johnson refuses the request, John Pullinger said: “That is what I’ve read.”
He added that they would be “ready” to organise another referendum. “Obviously, we’ve had a Scottish referendum before, and there is a review of how that went, and we would be able very straightforwardly to dust that off again.”
However, he noted that a referendum held without Westminster’s approval “doesn’t have the same status”.