Bill proposes five-year term for next Parliament



Joe FitzPatrick

A bill to avoid election clashes has been published.

The Scottish Elections (Dates) Bill – a Programme for Government commitment – proposes a five-year term for the next Scottish Parliament to avoid the next UK general election on 7 May 2020.

In addition, the bill defers the planned 2021 Scottish local government elections until 2022 to avoid a clash with the new Scottish Parliament election date.

Proposals in the bill include:

  • The deferral of the Holyrood election, due on 7 May 2020, to 6 May 2021; and
  • The deferral of the Scottish local government elections, due on 6 May 2021, to 5 May 2022.
  • The publication of the bill marks the beginning of the Parliamentary consideration process.

Welcoming the publication of the bill, Joe FitzPatrick, Minister for Parliamentary Business said: “To help eliminate potential voter confusion, this Bill avoids a clash with the next UK General Election in 2020.

“The Scottish and UK governments agreed to keep the elections separate and I welcome the cross-party support in Scotland. This bill represents a pragmatic and straightforward solution to the immediate problem.

“When the Scotland Bill transfers full powers over elections to the Scottish Parliament, we can then agree permanently the best term lengths and dates for Scottish elections.”