Government mistakes laid bare in ‘damning’ election report

The Liberal Democrats have called for Douglas Alexander to resign following the publication of the Gould Report

Jo Swinson has described the Gould Report into the conduct of the Scottish elections as ‘damning’ in its criticism of the Scotland Office.

The report, published today, draws the central conclusion that the voter was ‘treated as an afterthought’ in the planning and organisation of the 3 May 2007 elections in Scotland.

Speaking in Parliament today, Jo challenged Secretary of State for Scotland Des Browne on the sanctions to be faced by companies contracted to deliver postal ballots. The late delivery of postal ballots led to the disenfranchisement of over 5,000 voters.

Mr Browne conceded that: “we ought to be getting better” at handling postal ballots.

Commenting on the publication of the Gould Report, Jo said:

“The only executive function the Scotland Office has is the running of elections, and yet it has failed miserably.

“The report is damning in its criticism of the department. It makes clear that delays and weak decision making were to blame for much of the fiasco of the spoiled ballots. Particularly worrying is the reference to a focus on ‘partisan political interests’ in the run up to the elections.

“146,000 people lost their vote in May, and the voters of Scotland were let down badly. The Government must admit their mistakes and look soberly at Ron Gould’s recommendations. The mistakes that culminated in the chaos of that night must never be repeated.”

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