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Lib Dems in plea to Labour voters ‘without political home’

Willie Rennie sketches out party's anti-Brexit, anti-independence stance at campaign launch.

Rennie: Labour have gone too far to the left. <strong>Scottish Liberal Democrats</strong>
Rennie: Labour have gone too far to the left. Scottish Liberal Democrats

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have made a plea for the support of disaffected Labour voters who feel they are “without a political home”.

Party leader Willie Rennie accused the Labour party of becoming “out of touch” with many in the country by “moving too far to the left”.

Officially launching the Scottish Lib Dems’ campaign in Cramond, Rennie called on “moderate, reasonable” Labour voters to back his party in the December 12 election.

The Liberal Democrats want to cancel Brexit by revoking Article 50, and the Scottish party leader also told supporters he wants to “stop independence”.

It comes after the Lib Dems in England and Wales teamed up with Green party and Welsh nationalists Plaid Cymru to form a pro-Remain electoral pact in dozens of seats.

The deal will give voters a single Remain choice in 60 constituencies – but none in Scotland, as the Scottish Lib Dems and Scottish Greens are separate parties which did not sign up to the pact.

Speaking on Thursday, Rennie said: “The Labour Party are moving far to the left.

“They’re out of touch with moderate, reasonable people in this country. People who want to keep the United Kingdom in the European Union and want to focus on the big issues that the country faces.

“All of those people who are without a political home, I think they need to come with the Liberal Democrats, because we speak for them.

“By pledging to stop Brexit and in Scotland to stop independence, and dealing with the issues that people face, I think lots and lots of people will be voting Liberal Democrat.”

He added: “With Jo Swinson as our leader, I think the party is going to do exceptionally well in this campaign.

But also campaigning in Edinburgh, SNP minister Michael Russell said Brexit showed Scotland needed a choice on independence as he urged MSPs to back his Referendums Bill in a vote later on Thursday.

Russell said: “Scotland’s future must be in Scotland’s hands – not Boris Johnson’s – and at this election by voting SNP the people of Scotland can escape Brexit and choose a better future with independence.

“The decision on whether to offer that choice should be made by the Scottish Parliament – not Westminster.”

Meanwhile, as Boris Johnson arrives in Scotland on the campaign trail, his Chancellor and Labour’s shadow chancellor set out their parties’ respective spending and borrowing plans.

Chancellor Sajid Javid said the Tories will set out three new fiscal rules to “control borrowing, to control debt, and to control debt interest” – describing them as “new rules for a new economic era”.

But John McDonnell said a Labour government would exclude borrowing for investment from borrowing targets as part of infrastructure plans that would “remake this country”.

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