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By-Elections: Glenrothes

Volume 488: debated on Wednesday 25 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the implications of the marked register from the Glenrothes by-election going missing for his responsibility for policy for the conduct of elections in Scotland; what discussions he has had with the Scottish Courts Service on the matter; when the marked register should have been lodged with the Courts Service; and if he will make a statement. (257818)

Following UK Parliament elections, certain election documents and records, including the marked register currently, must be sent to the relevant sheriff clerk for storage. After one year the records must be destroyed. Following a Scotland Office consultation last year, responsibility for the retention and supply of post-election documents and records for UK Parliament elections is to be transferred from sheriff clerks to returning officers. The amendment is being made through the Political Parties and Elections Bill currently before Parliament. This will bring Scotland more into line with the arrangements in England and Wales as well as with the existing arrangements for local authority and European Parliament elections in Scotland. The intention is to make similar provision for Scottish Parliament election records through secondary legislation.

I am aware that the Scottish Courts Service has commissioned an independent investigation into the particular circumstances of the loss of the marked register from the Glenrothes by-election and it would not, therefore, be appropriate for me to comment. Neither the Secretary of State nor I have had discussions with the Scottish Courts Service about the matter.