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See previous letters. No reply received.


 29 September, 2004

Mr Sam Younger,
Chairman, The Electoral Commission,
Trevelyan House, Great Peter Street,

Dear Mr Younger,


Designation of the Official No Campaign in the North-East Referendum, cont.

Further to my letter of 19 September requesting your reasons for selecting NESNO as the official No Campaign, I see that you have now written to the Sunday Telegraph taking full responsibility for this decision upon yourself and your four fellow commissioners.


You say that it was “agreed before the referendum period that the commissioners would take that decision independently of staff”.  Please would you make the situation clearer by stating precisely who was party to this agreement?  Also, when was the agreement made?  You are rather vague about these important details.

You no doubt had your reasons for deciding to give the £100,000 funding to NESNO.  However, as one who will be expected, should the Yes Campaign prevail, to contribute to the costs of an assembly which I do not want, I would feel more confident of having received fair treatment if you were to present details of the submissions of both the No campaigns for public scrutiny.  It is hard for ordinary members of the electorate to understand your decision when we have not seen the specific evidence which convinced you that NESNO “represented to the greatest extent those campaigning for a ‘No’ outcome.”

Since they are not against regional government as such, NESNO cannot represent the views of those of us who do not think an assembly will benefit the north-east of England, however great its powers.  What, in their submission, convinced you otherwise?  I am sure you will agree that those whose lives will be affected by your decision have a right to know the grounds and evidence on which it was based.

Yours sincerely,


Gillian Swanson
Cc Members of the Electoral Commission, north-east press,