An independent advisor has been appointed to help plan for the independence referendum.
Professor Stephen Tierney is an internationally recognised expert on referendums and has been brought in by the Scottish Government to oversee the process for the 2014 vote.
He will not be paid for the role, something which the SNP says will mean the advice he gives is impartial.
Professor Tierney will give advice on the design of the ballot paper, structure of the referendum and the question or questions put to the public.
After the consultation, the government will put forward to question to be asked to the Electoral Commission who will then test it. Their recommendations will then be voted on by the Scottish Parliament.
Professor Tierney, who works at the University of Edinburgh, said: "I am honoured to accept the role of independent advisor to the referendum process.
"I will provide independent, objective and publically-available advice on international best practice in the conduct of referendums. I hope that my research in this area will also help to inform public debate more widely."
The appointment was welcomed by the first minister, who said he was "delighted".
Alex Salmond said: "Professor Tierney is an internationally recognised expert on referendums and I am delighted that he has agreed to provide advice on issues arising from the consultation responses, including those from organisations and civic Scotland representatives.
“He will also advise on the design of the ballot paper and the structure of the referendum, including the question or questions. I would like to thank Professor Tierney for agreeing to become an independent expert advisor to the Scottish Government."
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