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Dundee LibDems back calls for Holyrood voting reform

July 26, 2006 8:15 AM

Dundee Liberal Democrats have today (Wednesday 26th July) backed calls by LibDem Shadow Scottish Secretary Jo Swinson MP for a fairer voting system in Scottish Parliament elections.

Jo spoke in a debate in Westminster today on reform of voting systems and constituency boundaries in Scotland, following the publication earlier this year of the Arbuthnott Commission on Boundary Differences and Voting Systems.

Jo Swinson said, "I was pleased to get the opportunity to put forward the case that introducing the Single Transferable Vote for Scottish Parliament elections would go a long way towards improving engagement between MSPs and the electorate in Scotland.

"Voter turnout is falling because the electorate, especially young people, feel their votes do not make a difference. The current system gives parties too much say over which candidates are elected from party lists, whereas STV would give voters more choice and control over who they elect. The more that voters feel their vote counts, the more likely they are to turn out at the ballot box.

"The Arbuthnott report missed a valuable opportunity to bring about a lasting and beneficial change to politics in Scotland through reform of Holyrood's voting system."

Here in Dundee, Liberal Democrat Council Group Leader Cllr Fraser Macpherson said, "Jo Swinson is right to campaign for a change to the STV system of election to the Scottish Parliament to increase the political engagement of the Scottish electorate. Quite frankly the Arbuthnott Report was very disappointing in its failure to grasp this issue. Replacing a failed closed-list top up system of MSPs with an open-list system is not the answer."

Information Note :

The Arbuthnott Commission on Boundary Differences and Voting Systems was set up in 2004 by Scottish Secretary Alastair Darling and published its final report in January 2006.

The Commission's recommendations included:

  • Scottish Parliament constituencies based on local authority areas;
  • An open-list system replacing the closed-list system in Scottish Parliament elections;
  • Holding of Scottish Parliament and local government elections on separate days;
  • Introduction of e-counting and e-voting;
  • Education for school pupils on citizenship.

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