Page last updated at 12:47 GMT, Thursday, 19 January 2012

Local government elections 2012 debate

Local Government Minister Derek Mackay called on Westminster to give Holyrood power over all elections held solely in Scotland during a debate on the local government elections in 2012.

Mr Mackay called for the full devolution of the Scottish Parliament and local government elections during the debate on 19 January 2012.

He said: "It is absurd that this parliament is not responsible for the election of its members, and that we are unable to give 16 and 17 year olds their democratic right to vote, even when that is the will of this parliament.

"We have repeatedly asked the UK government for the transfer of these powers, as recommended by Gould but have received no response."

The local government elections, will be held on 3 May 2012, in all 32 Scottish Local Authorities.

They were due to be held on 5 May 2011, but Scottish ministers heeded the advice of the Gould Report and split the Holyrood and local government elections - in order to avoid a repeat of the 2007 count fiasco.

Mr Mackay said the Gould recommendations had been taken on board:

"On approaching these elections, we have pursued the recommendations of the Gould Report, and I continue to seek consensus on matters relating to the local government elections.

"The overall conclusion of the Gould Report was damning, stating that Scotland's voters had been treated "as an afterthought" in the planning and organisation of the elections in 2007.

Throughout the preparations for the 2012 local government elections we have kept at the forefront of our minds the interests of the voter and the specific recommendations of Ron Gould, widely welcomed and supported by the last Parliament."

The 2012 local elections will be the second since the Single Transferable Vote (STV) was first introduced for the 2007 local government elections.

This election will be the first since the SNP won a majority in the Scottish Parliament.

Scottish Labour's local government spokesperson Sarah Boyack supported the implementation of the Gould report recommendations and called on the minister to focus on promoting voter registration in the run up to the local government elections.


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