Economics of Independence Press Releases

Business for Scotland responds to Electoral Commission findings

Written by Michelle Rodger

Screenshot 2015-10-15 16.12.18The Electoral Commission has today dismissed the nonsensical claims made in the press that Business for Scotland and the SNP broke campaigning rules by ‘working together’ during the 2014 referendum campaign.

The Electoral Commission, in its letter to Business for Scotland, clearly states: “We are not opening an investigation or otherwise pursuing this matter further. We have seen no information or evidence that the SNP and BFS worked together to an agreed plan to promote or procure a ‘yes’ outcome at the Scottish Independence Referendum. We therefore consider this matter to be closed.”

A spokesperson for Business for Scotland said: “These were malicious and sensationalist claims, made by unionist press hoping to damage the Yes movement, and we welcome the Electoral Commission’s confirmation that we acted entirely properly.

“We were never in any doubt that our actions were within the law, because we sought specific advice from the Electoral Commission on how to work with other Yes organisations during the referendum. They told us that speaking with, sharing a platform with and getting updates from other Yes groups was not only within the rules, they expected us to do so and went so far as to say they couldn’t understand how we could run our campaigns without communicating in that way.

“The original complainant, a well known unionist blogger and social media troll, and the press who led on this ridiculous story simply don’t understand the Electoral Commission’s rules about which they were writing. And the Electoral Commission has made it clear that there is no need for an investigation, despite the headlines claiming that there was.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, founder, CEO and registered head of the BfS referendum campaign said: “BfS has now twice been given a clean bill of health by the Electoral Commission in direct contrast to the No campaign’s business group, the CBI, which tried to avoid electoral campaign rules by not registering, but were forced to register by the Electoral Commission resulting in the resignation of as much as half of its Scottish membership.

“BfS will write to all the editors of the newspapers that ran this inaccurate story without seeking a quote from BfS and demand a right to reply.”

Full statement from the Electoral Commission: –

The Electoral Commission has today concluded its assessment of allegations that the Scottish National Party (SNP) and Business for Scotland (BFS) were ‘working together’ to promote or procure a ‘yes’ outcome at the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum in a way that breached the rules set out in the Scottish Independence Referendum Act (SIRA) 2013.

The Commission has found no evidence during its assessment that the SNP and BFS worked together in a way that broke the law. There is therefore no need to open a full investigation.

Under SIRA, if campaigners worked together under an ‘agreed plan’, spending related to this plan would count towards each campaigners spending limits. The Commission found no evidence that BFS and the SNP were operating under such a plan.

Should further information come to light, the Commission will consider this but at this stage, no further action will be taken.

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About the author

Michelle Rodger

Michelle is a former national newspaper journalist who co-founded an award-winning IT business before launching Tartan Cat Communications. A social media and crowdfunding expert she manages media and communications for Business for Scotland.


  • This appears to me to be part of a wider orchestrated propaganda campaign by the media on behalf of the SNP outers ahead of the election. Banner headlines for the smear and a postage stamp grudging apology tucked away under adverts for used cars (if indeed any apology is forthcoming at all)

    It seems that unionists just have to snap their fingers and the press and broadcast media will print any old tripe on their behalf. Does Business for Scotland, or even the Scottish Government, have such privileged access?

  • I’m all for holding all politicians to account, but these half-baked accusations from people who don’t know what they’re talking about are getting really tiresome. Where something has been done wrong, then that needs to be addressed, but this scattergun approach of accusing the SNP with any old excuse for a rant are such a waste of everyone’s time.

  • The result came as no surprise, nor is it a surprise that such actions intended to discredit (and outright lie) about Business For Scotland were made and openly, repeatedly recited by much of the media.

    I will be attentive to see if there is any response from the media in looking to an apology.

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