THE LIBERAL Democrats hailed a deal with Labour to introduce proportional representation in Scottish council elections and said it could lead to the system being adopted throughout the UK.
They believe the move will revive pressure on the Government to consider bringing in PR for Westminster parliamentary elections, as well as the contests for English town halls.
Charles Kennedy, the Liberal Democrat leader, plans to warn Tony Blair not to abandon his promises on electoral reform in his end of conference speech.
Jim Wallace, the Scottish Deputy First Minister, was cheered by delegates as he announced the decision of the ruling Scottish Executive, a coalition of Labour and Liberal Democrat members.
"A few minutes ago, the Scottish Parliament was told of the Scottish Cabinet's intention, by March next year, to publish a Bill to introduce the single transferable vote for local elections," he said. "We should not underestimate, nor will we, the opposition we will encounter. Those whose power is vested in the current unrepresentative system won't let it slip away without a fight.
"But we have both surely and steadily built up the consensus for reform and no one should underestimate our determination to deliver. …