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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 November 2007, 16:38 GMT
Election 'buck stopped nowhere'
Ron Gould
Mr Gould was concerned about the reaction to his report
The expert who compiled a report into May's Scottish elections fiasco has told MSPs "the buck stopped nowhere".

Ron Gould said he was dismayed by the reaction to his report and the row over who was mainly to blame.

The Canadian elections expert told MSPs so many people were involved that none bore "ultimate responsibility".

The results process on election night in May had been besieged by delays and problems which saw some 140,000 ballot papers rejected.

Mr Gould's report caused controversy when his criticism of the elections seemed to suggest that Labour ministers put partisan political interests first and voters second.

'Starting point'

He later issued a letter of clarification stating that "all political parties were concerned with the potential political advantage" - a move described as "bizarre" by Scotland's deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Giving evidence to Holyrood's local government committee by video link from Ottawa, Canada, Mr Gould explained: "I was somewhat disturbed by the fact that, in my view, some of the media and some of the debate was looking back and trying to assess blame for who was responsible for what, rather than taking the problems as the starting point for a resolution that would avoid those in the future."

He added: "In reality, it's impossible to assess blame because there were so many people responsible for so many things that none of them had ultimate responsibility.

"So the buck stopped nowhere."

Meanwhile, Westminster's Scottish Affairs Select Committee criticised Mr Gould after its chairman, Labour MP for Glasgow Central Mohammed Sarwar, said he had so far failed to agree to answer questions from various MPs.

SEE ALSO
MPs aim to quiz election expert
13 Nov 07 |  Scotland
MPs begin election fiasco inquiry
12 Nov 07 |  Scotland
'I didn't nobble election expert'
28 Oct 07 |  Scotland
SNP says Gould response 'bizarre'
26 Oct 07 |  Scotland
Alexander makes election apology
24 Oct 07 |  Scotland
Probe says May poll failed voters
23 Oct 07 |  Scotland
Reliving the election night chaos
23 Oct 07 |  Scotland
May elections review at-a-glance
23 Oct 07 |  Scotland
Ballots 'rejected automatically'
03 Sep 07 |  Scotland

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