We commented on the intelligibility of the proposed referendum question. We recommended that the question should be amended to:
"Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”
Remain a member of the European Union
Leave the European Union
The Government and UK Parliament accepted our changes in the House of Commons on 7 September 2015.
We also carried out research into a question on the UK's membership of the European Union in 2013, after a Private Members’ Bill triggered it.
The question in this Bill was:
“Do you think that the United Kingdom should be a member of the European Union?”
The response options to this question were ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
We found that this question could lead to misunderstanding, as some people were not clear about the UK's current EU membership status.
Amending the question to make the UK's current membership status clear while keeping 'yes' and 'no' as the response options made some people think the question was biased.
We set out two recommendations to Parliament in our report.
If Parliament wants to retain 'Yes' and 'No' as the response options, we recommended the question should be amended to:
a) "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union?"
If Parliament decides not to retain a 'Yes' and 'No' question, we recommended:
b) "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?"
We also undertook additional research to explore any issues raised by moving away from a 'Yes' and 'No' question.
This confirmed that question b) above was clear and straightforward for voters, and was the most neutral wording from the range of options we considered and tested.
You can download our reports.