Politics British Politicians To Face Criminal Investigation Over Scottish Referendum

In a television interview with the BBC just four days before the referendum John McTernan, a former adviser to Tony Blair said, "It's important to remember that about a fifth of the electorate, that will be about a quarter of the total turn-out, have voted already. They have voted by postal vote. Those postal votes are running very strongly towards 'no'. There is a whole bank of votes in."

In a television interview with the BBC just four days before the referendum John McTernan, a former adviser to Tony Blair said, “It’s important to remember that about a fifth of the electorate, that will be about a quarter of the total turn-out, have voted already. They have voted by postal vote. Those postal votes are running very strongly towards ‘no’. There is a whole bank of votes in.”

 

EDINBURGH, October 04 (RIA Novosti), Mark HirstPolice in Scotland will formally investigate allegations that anti-Scottish independence campaigners breached electoral law during the referendum held on September 18.

“We can confirm that Crown counsel has instructed Police Scotland to commence an investigation into alleged breaches of Schedule 7, Paragraph 7, of the Scottish Independence Referendum Act 2013,” a statement issued on Saturday by the Crown Office, Scotland’s prosecution service reads.

The allegations relate to comments made by Ruth Davidson, a Member of the Scottish Parliament and leader of the Scottish Conservatives, in which she appeared to know the general results of postal votes arising from “sample opening” of ballot boxes.

Postal vote opening sessions are permitted before the formal poll is conducted to verify signatures and dates of birth against records held by the local Returning Officer. Agents for the two campaigns were allowed to monitor these sessions, but it is a criminal offense, punishable with up to a year’s imprisonment if found guilty, to communicate any information witnessed during the sample opening sessions.

In a television interview with the BBC shortly after the formal poll closed Davidson said “we’ve been incredibly encouraged by the results [of the postal vote],” implying the Scottish Conservative leader knew the outcome of the postal votes before the first formal results had been announced.

In another BBC interview just four days before the referendum John McTernan, a former adviser to Tony Blair said, “It’s important to remember that about a fifth of the electorate, that will be about a quarter of the total turn-out, have voted already. They have voted by postal vote. Those postal votes are running very strongly towards ‘no’. There is a whole bank of votes in.”

McTernan told RIA Novosti he had not been contacted by Police adding, “No reason to believe free speech is a crime.”

According to The Herald newspaper, Davidson has been contacted by Police with the paper quoting a Conservative Party source who said there was, “no suggestion she was accused of doing anything wrong at this stage.”

The independence referendum, which took place on September 18, saw a turnout of 84.59 percent. Scotland has chosen to stay in the United Kingdom with 44.7 percent of Scots having voted in support of independence and 55.3 percent having voted against.

Russian Observers Suspect ‘Special’ Voting Technologies in Scotland

Russian observers have suspicions over the "special" voting technologies used during the Scottish independence referendum.

Russian observers have suspicions over the “special” voting technologies used during the Scottish independence referendum.

Topic: Scotland on the Eve of Independence Referendum

EDINBURGH, September 18 (RIA Novosti) – Russian observers have suspicions over the “special” voting technologies used during the Scottish independence referendum and expect the announcement of results that will either confirm or disprove their suspicions.

“The absence of lines at voting offices could indicate the use of special voting technologies. About 20 percent vote in advance, via post. From our experience, we know that in 2012 Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney during presidential elections in early [stages of the] voting. That is, he won prior to the day of the election. Whether this technology was used during the referendum, we will know when the votes have been counted,” Igor Borisov, the chairman of the Council of the Russian Public Institute of Election Law and the head of the Russian observation mission, told RIA Novosti.

“If the organizers of the referendum announce the results of the postal votes separately from the results received on the day of the election, then it will be possible to assess how great the influence of technologies on the vote was,” he added.

Borisov noted that voter turnout is very high. According to members of the polling offices, by 10-11 a.m. BST (09:00-10:00 GMT) as many people came to vote as there were during the European Parliament elections in spring.

“At the same time, I cannot say that people wait to vote. I haven’t noticed anything like that. Although, there are lines of two-three people to take to the ballot,” Borisov said.

The Russian observation mission arrived in Edinburgh yesterday evening, comprising four specialists to monitor the Scottish independence referendum. Russian representatives will also monitor the vote count.

President Artur Mas: Stripping Catalonia of Autonomous Status Will Not Stop Independence Vote

Depriving Catalonia of its autonomous rights will not stop the region's independence movement: Catalan president

Depriving Catalonia of its autonomous rights will not stop the region’s independence movement: Catalan president

 

MADRID, September 16 (RIA Novosti) – Depriving Catalonia of its autonomous rights will not stop the region’s independence movement, Catalan president Artur Mas said on Tuesday.

“[The Spanish government] should not think that this will stop the course of history,” Mas told Catalan lawmakers, adding that Madrid should learn from UK authorities, whose policies have made the upcoming Scottish referendum possible.

Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said earlier on Tuesday that Spain would use “all legal tools available to prevent a separation referendum” in Catalonia, including stripping the region of its autonomous status.

According to Mas, the Madrid government is showing double standards, as it appeals to the law, but chooses “not to comply with it whenever necessary.”

“Do not be surprised that there are people in the region who believe that the time has come to achieve [autonomy] in other ways,” Mas stated.

The Catalan leader noted that he would not go as far as claiming that all Catalans want independence, but said that the residents of the autonomous community wished to establish just how many of them want the region to secede from Spain.

“The movement for Catalan rights is not dead. It is now more alive than ever, but in a different form, as it is no longer asking the government for authority or resources, but rather for a nationwide survey,” Mas said.

Tensions in Catalonia about secession from Spain have increased in light of the upcoming Scottish independence referendum, which will be held on September 18.

A referendum on Catalan’s independence has been set for November 9. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the Constitutional Court of Spain have repeatedly stressed that they will not recognize the results of the vote, which they consider illegal.