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Monday, 23 September, 2002, 11:06 GMT 12:06 UK
Scottish Lib-Dems' voting hopes
Jim Wallace
Mr Wallace says reform will bring election success
A planned deal on voting reform in local council elections will give the Scottish Lib Dems an advantage over Labour, according to party leader Jim Wallace.

He predicted success for the party in next year's elections for the Holyrood parliament.

In an interview on BBC Radio Scotland he denied that the Liberal Democrats had been forced to back-track by Labour.

Mr Wallace said: "The local elections in 2003 must be the last elections to be fought under the unfair first-past-the-post system.


We are going to get proper accountability in local government

Jim Wallace MSP

"If the Labour Party wants to fight an election campaign stuck in the past, with regard to defending a system that is indefensible, that's fine by me."

Mr Wallace is the deputy first minister in Scotland's Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition government.

The agreement is believed to commit the Scottish First Minister, Jack McConnell, to publishing a Bill by the end of the year which would set out a system of proportional voting for Scottish local council elections.

It would be for a single transferable vote system of PR, based on multi-member wards, but the Bill would lie dormant until the outcome of next May's Holyrood elections.

Labour defenders of the first-past-the-post system have already voiced their unease.

McConnell has moved to reassure them that although a Bill will be published, the deal will not commit the party to campaigning for it.

Mr Wallace told the Good Morning Scotland programme: "I believe that is the way we are going to get proper accountability in local government in Scotland, and that is the way to lead to better local government."

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Jim Wallace MSP
"Reform will improve local councils..."

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17 Sep 02 | Politics
24 Jun 02 | Politics
27 Apr 01 | Politics
29 Apr 02 | Politics
10 Dec 01 | England
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