Speculation about delayed Holyrood election ‘fanciful’

Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh said it is too early to discuss postponing next year’s Scottish ballot.

Holyrood’s Presiding Officer has said talk of postponing next year’s Scottish election is “fanciful” and “speculative”.

Ken Macintosh said there cannot be discussions about delaying the Holyrood poll, due to take place in May next year, until more is known about the duration of the lockdown period.

Press reports in recent weeks have suggested there have been preliminary talks on the issue, which the Presiding Officer rejected.

Despite rubbishing the rumours, Mr Macintosh did not rule out a possible date change in the future.

He added: “I’d suggest that we’re a long way off that.”

The Presiding Officer branded reports of an imminent change “speculative, and some of them were just downright inaccurate”.

The attentions of parliamentary and Government officials, as well as MSPs, is “very much in the here and now” as they look to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, he said.

Mr Macintosh added: “In the midst of this Covid-19 outbreak, all sorts of stories gain legs.”

He pointed to reports of people attacking 5G masts, which conspiracy theorists have claimed are responsible for the outbreak.

But the outbreak has added much more weight to scientific knowledge, the Presiding Officer suggested.

He said: “That’s actually quite encouraging because that’s what parliament is all about. It takes decisions based on evidence and usually expert evidence.”

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