Scotland moves towards five year election terms

The knock-on impact of five year election turns becoming the norm for Westminster* is that if you don’t want other levels of elections ever to clash with them, they also need to be at five year intervals.

Hence this news from Scotland:

The next UK general election is due to be held on 7 May 2020 – a date which had already been earmarked for Scottish Parliament elections.

MSPs have agreed, in principle, to move the Holyrood election to 6 May 2021. Scottish council elections, which were due to be held then, will also be moved – to 5 May 2022.

In theory, Scottish local elections are every four years, but this combined with previous moves to avoid clashing elections means a cycle of five years is becoming settled on: 2007, 2012, 2017, 2022. Likewise for the Scottish Parliament: 2011, 2016, 2021.

Given the usual complaint about politicians and timescales is that they are too short-termist, the move from four to five years has something to commend it, though government reformers are generally curiously silent on the issue.


* Nominally Westminster elections have been at five year intervals long before the introduction of five year fixed term Parliaments. However, they were often in practice four year terms.

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