Wednesday, May 26, 2010
On Newsnight tonight, Francis Maude became the latest in a string of coalition politicians to blatantly misrepresent the rules governing the dissolution of the Scottish Parliament, suggesting that they are analogous to what is being proposed for Westminster. When is someone going to call them out on this? Ed Balls seemed set to do it, but instead he just came out with a load of waffle about how Holyrood is elected by PR, and that in some unspecified way this makes all the difference. The actual salient point is that, in practice, only a simple majority is required to bring about a dissolution of the Scottish Parliament. Not 55%, and certainly not 66%. If a government is brought down by losing a confidence vote, there is a window of opportunity for a new First Minister to be elected - if this doesn't happen, an 'extraordinary general election' is automatically triggered. The 66% threshold only applies when a dissolution is sought in other circumstances - and it's quite hard to imagine what those would be.