Magazine article Public Finance

Alexander Apologises for Scottish Elections Fiasco

Magazine article Public Finance

Alexander Apologises for Scottish Elections Fiasco

Article excerpt

Former Scottish secretary Douglas Alexander apologised this week after an independent report delivered a damning verdict on the conduct of the Scottish elections, claiming tiiat voters were treated as an afterthought'.

Alexander - now international development secretary - is not named in the report by Canadian election expert Ron Gould. But the Scotland Office held the main responsibility for decisions on the running of the May 3 elections, which resulted in 140,000 ballot papers being rejected because of voter confusion.

Gould, who was appointed by the Electoral Commission to conduct the inquiry, said both the Scotland Office and Scottish Executive were frequently focused on 'partisan political interests'. Voters' interests and operational realities were bveriooked', he stated Almost without exception, the voter was treated as an afterthought by virtually all the other stakeholders.'

In advance of a clash over the issue at Prime Minister s Questions between Gordon Brown and Conservative leader David Cameron on October 24, Alexander defended the consultation process over the single ballot paper, which combined parliamentary first-past-the-post and proportional representation votes. …

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