British business lobby the CBI has petitioned the Electoral Commission to cancel its registration as an official supporter of the no campaign in theScottish independence referendum.
The sudden switch in policy came after more than a dozen organisations, including major universities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee, government agencies in Scotland and the broadcasters STV and BBC, resigned from the CBI to protect their neutrality in the independence debate.
The CBI had registered as a supporter of the no campaign, allowing it to spend up to £150,000 before September's referendum, on legal advice because it planned to make clear that it opposed independence at its official events and functions.
It has now promised the Electoral Commission it will not take an active role in the referendum – a move likely to be seen as a blow to the no campaign and a boost for independence campaigners.Surprising really. Iain McMillan, the canny boss of the CBI in Scotland, would surely have handled matters much more carefully than the London HQ.