Whitehall defied over 2015 election date

2015 elections to Holyrood and Cardiff could take place on same day as general election
2015 elections to Holyrood and Cardiff could take place on same day as general election

By Alex Stevenson

Leaders of the devolved administrations are presenting a united front against London's coalition government over the date of their next election.

Plans to introduce fixed-term parliaments would mean the 2015 elections in Holyrood and Cardiff would take place on the same day as the general election.

All parties agree the elections should not be held simultaneously - but neither are they willing to budge when it comes to changing their own date.

Yesterday deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said: "We want to ensure that election campaigns for the Scottish parliament and the National Assembly for Wales can be distinctly separate from the build-up to and aftermath of the 2015 Westminster election.

"But this is their choice to make - they can hold it in May 2015 if they wish, or a year before or after if they prefer - as part of this government's commitment to mutual respect, devolution of power and political accountability."

Scottish first minister and Scottish National party leader Alex Salmond has been joined by leaders of the coalition governing the Welsh Assembly executive, Labour's Carywn Jones and Plaid Cymru's Ieuan Wyn Jones, in opposing the idea.

"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," Mr Salmond said.

"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."

Wales' leaders have succumbed to that temptation. "My view would be that it's up to the UK government to move its election because at the end of the day our elections were fixed years ago for May 2015," Labour's Mr Jones insisted.

"I think it's important that those elections are kept on that day. I'm not persuaded at all at the moment that we should move our elections one way or the other."

Plaid's leader Mr Jones said holding the votes on the same day would be "disrespectful".

"The Welsh general election is an important opportunity for the people of Wales to have their say on what government they want and should not be overshadowed by other elections," he added.


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