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Orange Lodge officially registers as supporter of referendum No vote

Grand Lodge of Scotland registers support for a No vote but Better Together distances itself from organisation.

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The Orange Lodge in Scotland has officially registered as a supporter of a No vote ahead of the independence referendum.

The Electoral Commission confirmed on Wednesday that the Grand Lodge has registered as a "permitted participant" supporting a vote against independence.

However, the Better Together campaign, fronted by former Chancellor Alistair Darling, has distanced itself from the order.

It is understood the cross-party pro-Union organisation "firmly rejected" a written request by the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland asking to join their campaign.

A spokeswomen for the Electoral Commission said: "The Electoral Commission can confirm that the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland has registered as a permitted participant at the upcoming referendum.

"All registered permitted participants, including information on when they registered and which side they are campaigning for can easily be viewed on the Commission website."

A spokesman for Yes Scotland said: "Organisations are entitled to campaign in the referendum as they wish.

"Yes is the biggest grassroots campaign in Scottish political history, embracing the breadth and diversity of modern Scotland, and we are very confident of success in September."

A spokesman for Better Together declined to comment.

The lodge has established its own pro-union campaign called British Together and the organisation has described itself as "fervently opposed" to the idea of Scottish independence.

On its website, Grand Master Henry Dunbar says: "Ever since the first Orange lodges were constituted in Scotland in 1797, we have been committed to a United Kingdom, headed by a constitutional monarchy.

"We are primarily a Christian and charitable fraternal organisation - we rarely step in to the political arena. However, the Union ... is a matter that unites us all.

"I remain convinced that with your help, the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland can help ensure that we remain 'British Together'."

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