Ballot question change boosts anti-EU camp

 
Lauren Fedor
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E Minister David Cameron has accepted the recommendation of the electoral watchdog, and will change the wording on ballots in a future in/out referendum on the EU.

The Prime Minister’s spokeswoman confirmed yesterday that the EU referendum bill would be amended to reflect the suggestions of the Electoral Commission. The watchdog said yesterday that the question currently included in the legislation could be seen as biased against Britain leaving the European Union.

The original wording proposed by ministers was: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union?”

The Electoral Commission recommended adding the phrase “or leave the European Union” so that the ballot responses would either be “Remain a member of the European Union”, or “Leave the European Union”.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage welcomed the change, saying: “I'm in no doubt that the Yes/No offering was leading to great confusion and that remain or leave is much clearer.”

Earlier in the day, Farage told the BBC that he will “work with absolutely anyone for us to get a No vote in this referendum”.

“There are two competing groups who want to get the nomination for the No campaign,” he said. “All I am saying is I am not choosing one side or the other. We will work with whichever of them gets the nomination.”

Business for Britain chief executive Matthew Elliott and Ukip donor Arron Banks are among the high-profile Eurosceptics leading non-political Brexit campaigns, while backbench MPs in the Conservatives for Britain and Labour for Britain groups have begun planning campaigns for the UK to leave the EU.

But only one Eurosceptic campaign group will gain the official recognition of the Electoral Commission, allowing for more spending, higher levels of official funding and rights to television broadcasts.

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