BBC News

Covid: Scottish election contingency planning under way

image captionMr Swinney told BBC Scotland it was "appropriate that we look at contingencies"

Deputy First Minister John Swinney has confirmed contingency planning has started on potential changes to the Scottish election timetable.

The vote for the Scottish parliament is due to take place on Thursday 6 May 2021.

Speaking on the Politics Scotland programme, Mr Swinney said "the focus" was on sticking to that date.

But he said that "it's appropriate that we look at contingencies in case that is not practical".

The past week has seen additional restrictions put in place to deal with an upsurge in Covid-19 cases.

After more than 700 new positive tests were reported on Saturday, Scotland's National Clinical Director Jason Leitch said the pandemic was now "accelerating" in Scotland.

Ongoing discussions

"There's a great deal of uncertainty about the period that lies ahead," Mr Swinney said.

But he stressed that the intention was to work within the existing election timetable if at all possible.

"The government's plan - and parliament's plan - is that the election should take place as scheduled on the first Thursday in May.

"Obviously there are some contingencies being looked at by parliament, by all parties, and obviously they will continue to discuss these issues."

The deputy first minister emphasised the importance of people being allowed to vote.

He added: "It's vital that we have that democratic process to enable the people of Scotland to choose their government and - certainly from the government's point of view - we want the election in May to go ahead as timetabled already."

Related Topics

  • Scottish government

More on this story

  • Jason Leitch: Pandemic is 'accelerating' in Scotland