A ‘Truth Commission’ should be created to monitor claims made during referendums, according to a new report published today.

The watchdog could intervene and correct inaccurate and misleading assertions, the Electoral Reform Society believes.

The society also calls for a review of the role of broadcasters like the BBC during referendums, to make discussions more more deliberative and less combative.

Any changes could potentially affect a second Scottish independence vote.

Remain campaigners accused the Leave campaign of an outright lie during the EU referendum, when they claimed that Brexit would free up an extra £350million a week that could be spent on the NHS.

The figure was quietly dropped within hours of the surprise vote to leave the EU.

But critics question whether a 'Truth Commission' could have an effect on anything except the most egregious untruth.

In its report the ERS say that the “glaring democratic deficiencies” of the EU referendum contest must never be allowed to happen again.

Among many criticisms they warn that the four-month campaign period was too short to foster a decent debate and that misleading claims could be made with total impunity,

New BMG polling released alongside the report shows that many felt they were ill-informed about the vote.

The ERS said the EU referendum was in “stark contrast” to 2014’s Scottish independence vote, which it said featured a ‘vibrant, well-informed, grassroots conversation that left a lasting legacy of on-going public participation in politics and public life’.

Among its recommendation the ERS calls for the watchdog Ofcom to review the role broadcasters like the BBC play in referendums, the creation of a definitive campaign rule-book and a six-month regulated campaign period.

The charity also wants the public to be involved at every stage,and for 16 and 17-year olds to get the vote, following what it calls the “huge success” of the Scottish referendum.

Katie Ghose, the chief executive of the ERS said: “This report shows without a shadow of a doubt just how dire the EU referendum debate really was. There were glaring democratic deficiencies in the run-up to the vote, with the public feeling totally ill-informed. Both sides were viewed as highly negative by voters, while the top-down, personality-based nature of the debate failed to address major policies and issues, leaving the public in the dark."

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: "The positive case for remaining in the EU did not get a day out and the lies of the Leave campaign won the day.

"The ERS are right to be concerned over the dangerous precedent this sets for future elections.

"People need to have confidence that they will go to the polls on the basis of facts, not fictional claims over non-existent investment in the NHS."

He also said that it was "shameful" that 16 and 17-year-olds were excluded from the EU referendum.