Public Law

Nicola Sturgeon points out on the Scottish Government’s Referendum Blog that there are now a mere 400 days to go until the referendum on Scottish independence. Hang in there everyone…

She also notes that the Scottish Independence Referendum (Franchise) Bill received Royal Assent last week, and so is now the Scottish Independence Referendum (Franchise) Act 2013. We previously blogged about this legislation here and here.

The post confirms the SNP’s belief that, as a matter of policy, 16 and 17 year olds should be able to vote not just in this referendum but in all elections. The Scottish Parliament currently has no power to legislate about elections to the UK and Scottish Parliament, or the franchise at local government elections by virtue of Head B3 of Schedule 5 to the Scotland Act 1998. It cannot change the franchise for its own elections as those are tied to the local government franchise by section 11 of the Act, and the Act itself is protected from amendment by paragraph 4 of Schedule 4.

Those limitations would fall away in the event of independence, however, so the age limit is one thing we could be confident would change if there were to be a ‘Yes’ vote in just 400 sleeps’ time.

Charles Livingstone

Latest posts by Charles Livingstone (see all)