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Five-Year Term for Next Scottish Parliament

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TEHRAN, March 4 (ICANA)-The term of the next Scottish Parliament will run for five years, with the next election due on May 5, 2016, after MSPs backed plans to move the date.
Friday, March 04, 2011 1:24:40 PM
Five-Year Term for Next Scottish Parliament

First Minister Alex Salmond lodged a motion inviting the UK Government to set the date of the next Scottish election after this year one year later than planned, to avoid a clash with the next Westminster poll, UKPA reported.

The UK Fixed Term Parliaments Bill will establish five-year terms at Westminster, with the first election scheduled to take place on the first Thursday of May 2015 - which had been the same day of the planned Holyrood poll.

The SNP's Jim Mather said ahead of the vote: "With two separate electoral contests will come two simultaneous campaigns. We would have parties campaigning on both UK-wide and Scottish issues, and we would run the risk of dominance in the national media of the UK campaign with Scottish issues being sidelined."

Scottish Labour spokeswoman on constitutional affairs Pauline McNeill said Holyrood had "no real choice" but to vote for the next parliamentary term to run for five years.

Conservative MSP David McLetchie said his party supported the plans. However, he said that in future there needs to be consultation about timescales.

Liberal Democrat spokesman on parliamentary business Mike Rumbles also added his party's support, with Green leader Patrick Harvey also speaking out in favour.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "I am extremely pleased that we have been able to agree a way forward with the Scottish Parliament on the possible coincidence of elections in May 2015.

"The possible coincidence of elections to the UK Parliament and the Scottish Parliament has always been a possibility, but with the prior warning the Fixed-term Parliaments Bill has given us we have been able to work constructively with the devolved institutions on this issue. This is an example of the Government's respect agenda in action."

Mark Harper, minister for political and constitutional reform, said: "This follows several months of dialogue with the party leaders. I am extremely grateful to the Presiding Officer for his assistance on this issue."

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