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Former Labour spin doctor takes to Twitter to deny misconduct in Scottish Independence referendum

By James Doleman |

October 8, 2014 | 3 min read

A former advisor to Tony Blair has taken to Twitter to deny allegations of illegal actions during the Scottish Independence referendum.

John McTernan, who worked as director of political operations for the Labour government, has been reported to police for comments he made on TV four days before polling closed in the historic vote when he said: “postal votes are running very strongly towards No.”

While observers from political campaigns are allowed to observe the opening of postal ballots, to confirm the process is being carried out fairly, they are specifically barred from attempting to see the actual votes that have been cast or, if they do, communicating that to others.

In a statement the Scottish Crown office said: "We can confirm that Crown Counsel has instructed Police Scotland to commence an investigation into alleged breaches of Schedule 7, Paragraph 7, of the Scottish Independence Referendum Act 2013.

"Failure to observe electoral rules is a criminal offence which can result in a fine of £5,000 or a year in prison.”

Herald Scotland quoted McTernan denying he had any inside knowledge of postal vote tallies saying: "I'm a political commentator. I am able to make comment about what I understand is going to happen, because I can analyse voting patterns. My prediction could have been wrong. It turned out it was right because I am good at my job.”

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Speaking to The Drum McTernan said: "In my view it is not a story that a commentator commentates."

The row comes on the back of accusations from some Yes campaigners that the Scottish referendum was rigged, with videos circulating online that claim to show misconduct over the count.

However this speculation has been dismissed by electoral authorities which insist the vote was conducted fairly.

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