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Last Updated: Monday, 20 September, 2004, 11:17 GMT 12:17 UK
'PR must happen' Kennedy insists
Charles Kennedy on a blustery Bournemouth seafront
Charles Kennedy on a blustery Bournemouth seafront
The leader of the Liberal Democrats has warned there must be no backsliding on electoral reform in Scotland.

Charles Kennedy said bringing in PR for local government was an issue of "totemic" importance for Scotland and the working of the coalition.

He said it would be up to the Scottish Lib Dems to decide if they wished to remain in partnership with Labour if the plans were not implemented.

He hinted that the coalition would be strained if this did not happen.

Mr Kennedy spoke about proportional representation during an interview with BBC Scotland at his party's conference in Bournemouth.

In June, the Scottish Parliament passed a bill which means the first-past-the-post voting system for local elections will be replaced with the single transferable vote (STV).

Next elections

The proposal was one of the key measures of the Local Governance Bill.

The new system could be in place for the next council elections in 2007.

First Minister Jack McConnell remains publically committed to implementing the changes but the Lib Dems are maintaining pressure on him to follow through his pledge.

Separately, Mr Kennedy criticised the proposed hospital unit closures in Scotland, saying there should more consultation before any more units are shut.




SEE ALSO:
MSPs approve PR election move
24 Mar 04  |  Scotland
Council election reform support
19 Mar 04  |  Scotland
Action needed on voter turnout
19 Nov 03  |  Scotland
PR pay-out plan for councillors
22 Jun 03  |  Scotland


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