Concern over Scottish government’s election reform proposals

Concern over Scottish government's election reform proposals

The Scottish government has been asked to clarify why it wants to reform elections by secondary legislation.

Holyrood’s Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee welcomed a new bill which makes changes to how elections operate but requested answers from the Scottish government on why a significant number of areas would be taken forward by secondary legislation.

The Scottish Elections (Representation and Reform) Bill aims to make a number of changes to how Scottish Parliament and Scottish local elections are run.

These include introducing measures to allow foreign nationals with limited leave to remain in the UK to stand for election, as well as preventing a person from standing as a candidate if they have committed an offence involving the intimidation of election staff or people standing for election. The bill also proposes changes to how much money can be spent during an election campaign.

However, the Scottish government has indicated that a number of issues, such as free mailouts for candidates in local government elections and emergency proxy voting would see changes made by secondary legislation. The committee has now asked the government to clarify its plans for the introduction of this secondary legislation.

Speaking as the committee’s report was launched, committee convener Martin Whitfield MSP said: “The bill makes important changes to how Scottish elections will be run. And anything which aims to make our democracy more transparent and diverse is of course to be welcomed.

“But during our evidence, we heard some concerns about how the bill would operate in practice, as well as the need for clarity about how measures would be monitored or indeed introduced.

“We are now asking the Scottish government to provide more information to make it clear to all stakeholders how these changes will operate in practice.”

Share icon
Share this article: