26,000 share views on referendum

More than 26,000 responses were received during the Scottish Government's consultation on an independence referendum.

The figure is higher than the 21,000 the Government estimated on the closing day of the consultation, which asked for views on proposals to hold a referendum in the autumn of 2014.

More than 160 organisations including the Scottish Trades Union Congress, Electoral Commission, National Union of Students and Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations have already published their responses.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "This is a fantastic response from the people of Scotland, with over 26,000 contributions to the consultation - over 10 times the number that responded to the UK Government's consultation on the same issue.

"This positive level of response sends a clear signal that the people of Scotland believe the Scottish Parliament is the place to decide the terms and timing of the referendum - and that these should not be imposed by Westminster.

"The responses from organisations already been made public show a lively debate around issues such as whether there should be a second question on the ballot paper.

"They also show support for votes for 16 and 17-year-olds. We set out our preferred question in the consultation document but have always said we would listen to the view expressed in the responses we received."

Analysis of the consultation, which ended in May, will be completed and published by the Government by the end of the summer.