Page last updated at 16:37 GMT, Thursday, 11 June 2009 17:37 UK

MSPs vote to support UK election

Ballot box
The Tories said the people must decide on Mr Brown's ability to lead

The Scottish Parliament has voted in support of calling a UK general election, amid concerns over the current Westminster government.

The SNP and Liberal Democrats combined to back a Tory motion at Holyrood, after the party said the move was needed to restore faith in democracy.

But Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray dismissed the call as having nothing to do with Scotland.

The vote was symbolic, with the prime minister free to ignore it.

During a debate in parliament, Scottish Tory leader Annabel Goldie said the Westminster expenses scandal had tainted all parties, adding: "Until there is a general election, a cloud will hang over politics.

The only thing which has saved any Tories in Scotland is this parliament
Iain Gray
Scottish Labour leader

"What we have at present is such a weak and pitiful excuse for a government that it is not worthy of the name."

Bruce Crawford, minister for parliament, said the UK Labour government had lost the trust and confidence of the public, adding: "It is a government that has run out of ideas, run out of time, and is fast running out of supporters.

"It is presiding over the worst economic downturn in generations - and we are living with the consequences of decisions taken by this UK government during their age of irresponsibility."

'Smoking ruins'

The Liberal Democrats' Ross Finnie questioned the UK government's track record on the economy, adding: "We need an election to ensure that financial structures are rebuilt on sustainable lines, not pumping up the existing failed model."

But Mr Gray dismissed the Tory motion - passed by 78 votes to 42 - as "florid, melodramatic guff".

"This debate has nothing to do with the interests of Scotland - and everything to do with the perceived interests of the Tories," he said.

"The Tories dare to talk of broken Britain and smoking ruins, when they scarred Scotland, tore its heart out and set it against itself.

"The only thing which has saved any Tories in Scotland is this parliament."

On Wednesday, an SNP and Plaid Cymru motion to dissolve the UK Parliament, paving the way for an immediate general election, was rejected by MPs.

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