EU Referendum: David Cameron under pressure to change question to avoid bias

The Electoral Commission wants to amend the question to: 'Should the UK remain a member of the EU or leave the EU?'

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David Cameron is under pressure to change the EU referendum question to make it less biased.

The Electoral Commission has recommended that the question no longer involve 'Yes' and 'No' answers and said voters should instead be asked: "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?"

It said its research and consultation had found that the current question planned - "should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union" - was not balanced and favoured the 'Yes' camp.

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A change in the referendum question would give a boost to those hoping to quit the EU

The Commission has written to the Government and all MPs proposing that they change the question in the next stage of the EU Referendum Bill's passage through Parliament.

The referendum could take place as early as next year if Mr Cameron is successful in winning reforms to Britain's relationship with the EU by the end of 2015.

A change in the question would give a major boost to those campaigning for Britain to leave the EU as it would take away the drawbacks of campaigning on the negative side of the referendum question.

Jenny Watson, chair of the Electoral Commission, said: "Any referendum question must be as clear as possible so that voters understand the important choice they are being asked to make. We have tested the proposed question with voters and received views from potential campaigners, academics and plain language experts.

"Whilst voters understood the question in the Bill some campaigners and members of the public feel the wording is not balanced and there was a perception of bias. The alternative question we have recommended addresses this. It is now for Parliament to discuss our advice and decide which question wording should be used."

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The 'No' campaign in the Scottish referendum suffered from accusations it was too negative

This morning Nigel Farage said he was willing to work with "absolutely anyone" to ensure voters opted to leave the EU.

Speaking as Ukip prepared to launch its own 'Brexit' campaign, he ruled out heading the official 'Out' campaign, which will be granted higher spending limits, television broadcasts and will be given a grant.

He told Radio 4's Today programme: "Let’s be clear, I’m not refusing to work with anybody, in fact the opposite, I’ll work with absolutely anyone for us to get a no vote in this referendum," he said.

"All I’m saying is I’m not choosing one side or another, I will work with whichever of them gets the nomination although I have to say privately before we get to that point I hope there is a coming together of the two of them because both of them have got skills.

"There has to be an umbrella group and whoever gets it we’ll work with but I think the unique role that Ukip can play within this is that we’ve got 50,000 members, hundreds of branches across the country and we can do the ground campaign."

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