Prisoners serving sentences of less than a year, and foreign nationals legally resident in Scotland, have been given the vote under the first bill to require a two thirds majority in the Scottish Parliament.

By 92 votes to 27, MSPs have passed the Scottish Elections (Franchise and Representation) Bill at stage 3, which by s 11 of the Scotland Act 2016 required the support of two thirds of the total number of MSPs (129) as it concerned "the persons entitled to vote as electors at an election for membership of the Parliament".

 

The bill applies to local and Scottish Parliament elections. It was supported by all parties except the Conservatives, who opposed the extension of the franchise to serving prisoners. However a Green Party proposal to include asylum seekers, as well as those granted refugee status who are already covered by the bill, was defeated.

Mike Russell, Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, Europe and External Affairs, said this "radical and progressive bill" showed Scotland welcomed those who wanted to live here.