Salmond back Scotland 2015 election delay

Image caption,
The UK Parliament is moving to five-year fixed-term elections

First Minister Alex Salmond has said he is in favour of postponing the 2015 Scottish Parliament elections by a year to avoid a clash with the UK election.

Mr Salmond said that, although it was preferable to hold the Holyrood poll as planned, having a UK general election in the same year was "unacceptable".

His comments coincided with moves to hold UK parliamentary elections every five years.

The next UK general election is due to take place in May 2015.

The Scottish Parliament will hold its next election on 5 May.

It has set four-year terms, which means the Scottish Parliament would also hold elections in May 2015.

'Absolutely furious'

On Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg called on the Welsh Assembly to postpone its planned 2015 election by 12 months so it would not clash with the UK date.

Mr Salmond said: "Most of us in Scotland are absolutely furious that our pre-arranged election date for the time after next, is to be crowded in, almost without thought, by the coalition's plan for a five-year term in London.

"It's clearly not acceptable to have the elections on the same day.

"We've got the temptation of saying 'look we were here first, you change'.

"But in terms of actually getting something that satisfactorily allows the Scottish elections to have their own space and political timetable, then I think it's probably the best we can do."

The first minister said that all of the parties at Holyrood were signed up to the proposal, although it would be up to parliament to decide collectively before the upcoming election in May.

Mr Salmond said agreement was reached after party leaders in Scotland initially rejected a Westminster proposal to delay the Scottish election by just six months.

Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, Alex Fergusson said: "I welcome the confirmation that our proposal for the Scottish Parliament to be given the option of moving its election by up to a year has been adopted by UK ministers.

"The next step is to continue to work on a cross-party basis to bring the required resolution before the Scottish Parliament in early course."

Local government elections in Scotland, which were due to be held in 2011, have also been moved to next year to prevent a repeat of the confusion seen in the 2007 election.

As a result, the next local government elections will take in 2012, then again in 2017 to avoid a conflict with the 2016 Scottish Parliament election.

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