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Referendum consultation anonymised

The Scottish Government is willing to accept anonymous responses to its independence referendum consultation, it has emerged.

In a response to a written parliamentary question, Government Strategy Minister Bruce Crawford said "all responses will be accepted" to its Your Scotland, Your Referendum consultation.

He said: "Respondents can indicate on the respondent information form if they wish to remain anonymous. Any response submitted without a respondent information form will also be treated as anonymous."

Labour said anonymous responses will render the consultation "completely and utterly meaningless", as "anyone can put in as many responses to their consultation as many times as they like".

Constitution spokeswoman Patricia Ferguson said: "It is not just open to abuse but appears to be inviting abuse. Considering the problem the SNP have with their Cyber Nats, the likelihood of this consultation being distorted for the SNP's own ends is enormous."

Unionist politicians and commentators regularly face criticism and often abuse from outspoken pro-independence web-users who have been given the collective nickname "Cyber Nats".

Meanwhile, Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has said that 70% of respondents to the UK Government's own consultation supported holding the referendum before the Scottish Government's preferred date of autumn 2014. He said only 22% of respondents to "The Referendum on Separation for Scotland" consultation, which closed on March 9, supported the SNP timetable.

Mr Moore said: "Individual responses showed that Scottish citizens want this issue resolved quickly. Business responses show the strength of feeling that uncertainty is bad for investors, and there should be no unnecessary delay."

Mr Crawford said that Ms Ferguson's statement on anonymous contributions "misunderstands the position". He said: "Clearly the consultation is not 'anonymised'. Responses to this consultation are being handled in the same way as in any other consultation by the Scottish Government and by the previous Labour/Lib Dem coalition in which Ms Ferguson was a minister.

"The analysis will focus on the range of views expressed in the responses. If multiple identical responses - anonymous or otherwise - are received in the consultation, that will be fully set out in the analysis."


From Belfast Telegraph