Face-to-face with Colin Mackay: Lib Dems leader Willie Rennie

STV will host a series of interviews with the main political party leaders ahead of May's Holyrood election.

STV News

Over the coming weeks STV will be hosting a series of exclusive interviews with the main political party leaders taking part in May’s Holyrood elections.

First up is leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Willie Rennie, who sat down with political correspondent Colin Mackay to outline the party’s message and vision for the country.

Colin MacKay: Since devolution the Liberal Democrats have gone from a party of government in the first two terms of the Scottish Parliament to just five MSPs in the last two terms. Willie Rennie what have you got to turn it around this time?

Willie Rennie: You’ve been ignoring the progress Colin we’ve been making in recent years. We gained three MPs in the 2017 election; we had a great European election result in [2019], where we gained an MEP. And we’ve been winning by elections across the country, including in Perth, recently, where we went from third place to beating the SNP.


CM: What have you been doing to attract voters this time?

WR: Our message this time is incredibly powerful. It’s about recovery. It’s about putting the divisions of Independence, the exhaustion of the pandemic behind us and focusing on recovery. On things like mental health and creating jobs, taking action on the climate but also bounce back on support for education. Those are the things I think people in Scotland want. And that’s why I think we are going to grow in this election.

CM: In terms of bounce back for education, one of the things that you claim credit for is that pupil equity fund isn’t it? That’s something you want to focus on them?

WR: Oh, absolutely. We’ve been talking about making it a permanent fund, so that we can employ permanent teachers. Did you know Colin, that the number of temporary teachers on short term contracts has mushroomed up to 5000. Casual contracts, we need to change that to give every possible teacher a job and to cut to class sizes, and give in-school support for pupils to make sure we can bounce back from the terrible year that we’ve had. So the pupil equity fund is a very important thing. In fact, we got a pupil equity fund premium in the budget this year in negotiating decisions with the SNP. So that’s progress.


CM: But it was first introduced in 2017, wasn’t it? And you voted against the budget that year. So you voted against it?

WR: Yes, but there are many things within a budget.

CM: So can you claim credit for something you voted against?

WR: We argued for it for many years. In fact, in England, where it was a great success, and in Wales, when we were in government as well, we’ve made good progress as well, with the pupil premium and the equivalent was brought up here. So yes, we can claim credit for it, because we persuaded the SNP government to do it.

CM: Closing the attainment gap is something that will be big for you?!

WR: Well, actually, yes, because we’ve seen in the latest figures that the gap at level five in schools is a 36 point gap. It will take 35 years to close that gap. We need to make much faster progress than we have so far. So yes, we do.

CM: So you will be disappointed in the Audit Scotland report recently that showed there are some but not enough progress and talking about that level five for people leaving school with just one award, Perth and Kinross, Highland, Angus all councils where the Lib Dems are involved in the administration. All went down.


WR: Yes, but not in Perth and Kinross. We are not in administration there. But we are in other places. But the overall policy is set by the Scottish Government. You know that councils are limited in terms of what flexibility they have, the policy is set by the Scottish Government, the funding is provided by the Scottish Government.

CM: But the councils which you’re involved with did not improve.

WR: In Scotland, there’s been a problem; the attainment gap is 36 points. It’s closed slightly, but at that rate, it’s going to take many, many years to resolve.

CM: But other councils are similarly restrained, but yet they improve.

WR: No, the overall policy across Scotland is not improving fast enough. And we need to make that progress.

CM: Okay, another factor is poverty. You backed at the doubling of the child payment for the poorest families, don’t you?

WR: Yes, absolutely. It’s a good policy.

CM: But at a press release on Friday, your party said that they would use the child payment to tackle child poverty. On Monday, after the First Minister announced doubling it, you said you were committed to doubling the child payment. Looks like you were just reacting to her announcement doesn’t it?

WR: we haven’t published our manifesto yet Colin.

CM: But the thing is, you must have known that yourself on Friday. When you put that press statement out?!

WR: We think it’s a good idea. We will announce it in our Manifesto. And that’s very clear what the Liberal Democrats are committed to, because we need to check tackle child poverty, there has not been sufficient progress made in Scotland. And we need to make that happen. And one of the processes we need to do, is not just about boosting education, which will help overall of young people but also the child payment.

CM: Labour and the greens haven’t published their manifestos. But they had already told us that they were wanting to double it to 20 pounds. Are you just copying them?

WR: No, we publish our announcements when we’re ready. It’s important that we have a programme in the election campaign. And that’s what we will set out in the manifesto.

CM: In that Monday, press release, you said increasing the child payment to 30 pounds would be enough to ensure Scotland’s poverty targets are met. So why are you only doubling to 20 pounds?

WR: because we need to make progress. And we need to make progress that allows us to close the poverty gap and make significant progress towards that.

CM: So you’re deliberately keeping 40,000 children in poverty that you could help by already doubling it?

WR: You are just identifying one particular policy, we have a range of policies that will be announced in the manifesto that will contribute towards the elimination of poverty in Scotland, and because that’s the kind of thing we need to do.

CM: But in your own press release, you said you could do it at a stroke, but you’re not doing it?

WR: But you are ignoring the range of policies which are going to have in the manifesto.

CM: I’m not ignoring them. I haven’t seen them.

WR: Exactly. And that’s when it will come out. And it will show we’ve got a range of policies that will deal with poverty in Scotland, because it’s an important issue for the Liberal Democrats.

CM: But surely, when the Lib Dems were in coalition with the conservatives at Westminster backing Universal Credit, you’ve contributed to some of this poverty?

WR: Universal Credit as a fundamental policy is fine. It’s the way it was implemented. We did make progress in trying to get a comprehensive system that reflected the needs of people that made sure that when they were back to work, they didn’t lose all the benefits at once, and made sure it was simplified and helps people. What the result was that George Osborne and Ian Duncan Smith, cut the welfare budget to such an extent that the Universal Credit system was undermined. That was the problem.

CM: What about a threat to the union? How big is it to the election?

WR: I think it is diminishing.

CM: Do you think the threat to the union is diminishing?

WR: I think the support for independence is on the decline. And I think at the heart of that is that people are exhausted with the last 10 years of in arguments of independence and the pandemic in the last year. They want to focus on recovery. And that’s what we want to do. But we’ve also seen the arguments within the SNP. The SNP have lost control of the nationalist movement. They have lost control of the strategy. And I think, therefore, it’s causing people to be alarmed that the strategy is going to lead to an early referendum, which is what they are arguing for, which is what people in Scotland do not want.

CM: Is that why you won’t talk to conservative leader Douglas Ross, you just don’t think there’s a risk?

WR: I think Douglas Ross and the conservatives are part of the problem. Not part of the solution. It was the conservatives that brought us Brexit in the middle of a pandemic; it was a reckless thing to do. And therefore he is not capable of bringing the country together. He does not have broad enough appeal to try and win people back from those that are supporting independence to make sure we can secure the United Kingdom. That has got to be the agenda.

CM: Do you think he’s putting the union at risk?

WR: I think Douglas Ross’s approach is reckless. I think his approach is looking for a core vote strategy. He’s not looking for an interest in bringing people across. He is not interested in uniting the country. We saw in the debate just recently, where he was more interested in attacking myself and the Labour Party, rather than trying to persuade people to come back from the SNP.

CM: Alistair Carmichael says that his politics are far too dark and divisive. What does he mean by that?

WR: I think you probably saw the interview. He was asked if he was Prime Minister, what would be the first thing he would do? He said I would clamp down on gypsy travellers. That was quite a dark thing to say. And I think it’s not the kind of politics that Liberal Democrats or liberals are in favour of.

CM: So you wouldn’t partake in tactical voting to help them?

WR: I don’t think I would urge that in any sense.

CM: But you would hope other areas and conservatives would vote for Lib Dem. It goes both ways.

WR: People are intelligent and people understand how to use their votes in different parts of the country to have the biggest effect.

CM: And in 2016, you lost 40 out of 73 deposits. You got less than 5% of the vote. Are you in danger of becoming a fringe party?

WR: Don’t be so gloomy Colin. The opportunity for the Liberal Democrats in this campaign are great. We are making great progress. We’ve got the best campaign I think we’ve had for years. We’ve got more top women in winnable seats than ever before. We’ve won by-elections.

CM: You’ve only got 18 female candidates. Out of 73. That’s not many.

WR: But in the top positions where they are likely to win, we’ve got women we are going to be a much more diverse party at the end of this process.

CM: You’re talking about your campaign. You’ve had a giant deck chair, a giant trampoline, a giant chessboard. Are you trying to show that you’re small or that your party is small, tiny Willie Rennie?

WR: We’ve got a vast idea of ideas for the country. We’re going to take the country forward. I’ve explained some of them today. Putting Recovery First, about investing in mental health services, about creating jobs for people desperate for work. It’s about action on the climate. And it’s about bounce back for education. That’s an attractive agenda that is going to gain more votes.

Join the Scotland Tonight team again next week for the second part in the series of leader interviews ahead of May’s elections.

Holyrood pays tribute to ‘extraordinary’ Duke of Edinburgh

Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, passed away on Friday morning at Windsor Castle.

Yui Mok - WPA Pool via Getty Images

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon led tributes to the late Duke of Edinburgh at Holyrood.

The Scottish Parliament was recalled on Monday for only the sixth time in its history so as MSPs could show their respect to Prince Philip in a motion of condolence.

The 99-year-old, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, passed away on Friday morning at Windsor Castle.

The Duke and the Queen were married for more than 70 years and Philip dedicated decades of his life to royal duty, serving the nation at the monarch’s side.

STV News
Royal: Holyrood paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh.

Following a one-minute silence in remembrance, Sturgeon said: “The tributes paid to the Duke of Edinburgh over these last three days show the affection in which he was held here in Scotland, across the United Kingdom and indeed around the world.

“On behalf of the people of Scotland I express my deepest sympathy to Her Majesty The Queen, who is grieving the loss of her strength and stay, her husband of almost 74 years, and also to the Duke’s children and to the wider Royal Family.”

STV News
Holyrood: A minute’s silence was held for the Duke of Edinburgh.

The First Minister highlighted his life-saving efforts during the Second World War, and like so many of his generation the Duke had “endured difficulties and faced dangers that generations since can barely comprehend”.

Sturgeon described the relationship between The Queen and the Duke as a “true partnership”.


She said: “He faced the additional challenge of being the husband of a powerful woman at a time when that was even more of an exception than it is today.

“That reversal of the more traditional dynamic was highly unusual in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, and even now isn’t as common as it might be.

“Yet, the Duke of Edinburgh was devoted to supporting the Queen – they were a true partnership.”

Chris Jackson via Getty Images
Braemar Gathering: The Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.

The FM said she enjoyed speaking to the Duke about the books they were reading when she would stay at Balmoral.

She added: “He was a thoughtful man, deeply interesting and fiercely intelligent.

“He was also a serious book worm, which I am too, so talking about the books we were reading was often for me a real highlight of our conversations.”

Sturgeon highlighted his interest in industry and science and said he was “far-sighted” in his early support for conservation.


She added: “Indeed, as far back as 1969 in a speech here in Edinburgh he warned of the risks of ‘virtually indestructible’ plastics.

“Of course, in 1956 he founded the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme which now every year provides opportunity, hope and inspiration to more than one million young people in more than 100 countries across the world.”

Hulton Archive via Getty Images
Just married: Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip on their wedding day.

The First Minister said “it is right that our parliament pays tribute” to the Duke.

She added: “In doing so, we mourn his passing and we extend our deepest sympathy to Her Majesty The Queen and her family.

“We reflect on his distinguished war-time record, his love and support for The Queen and his decades of public service to Scotland, the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.

“Above all, we celebrate and we honour an extraordinary life.”

The Scottish Conservatives’ Ruth Davidson said she couldn’t imagine what “it is like to be married to someone for 73 years”.

She added: “And I can’t imagine what it is to have to get up and face every future day without them – what that absence feels like.

“And I think the recognition of the enormity of such a loss is what has led so many over the past few days to look past the titles and the 41 gun salutes and have such a sense of feeling for Her Majesty on such a human level.”

Davidson described the Duke as a “dashing young naval officer” who went on to become a “palace moderniser”.

She said: “He was a man that was born before the discovery of penicillin, before the creation of the United Nations or the invention of the television or the jet engine.

“But a moderniser he was in life, as well as in work. How many men in the 1950s gave up their job for their wife’s career?”

She also recalled how he had once asked former Scottish Tory leader Annabel Goldie about her underwear, at an event in Holyrood held to mark Pope Benedict’s visit to Scotland.

Davidson said: “Seeing Iain Gray [former Scottish Labour leader] sporting a tie in the papal tartan, the Duke turned to Tory leader Annabel Goldie to ask if she had a pair of knickers made out of this.

“Quite properly, Annabel retorted, ‘I couldn’t possibly comment, and even if I did I couldn’t possibly exhibit them’.”

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said he’d “never had the privilege” of meeting Prince Philip, so didn’t have a personal anecdote to share.

However he retold the story of a man called Jon Watts, who was jailed at the age of 17.

Sarwar said: “Jon recalled ‘there was lots of alcohol and no aspirations for people like me’, is what he said.

“But while in prison he came across the Duke of Edinburgh’s award, which he said gave him a new sense of direction.

“He camped out for his first award not on a Scottish mountainside, but in a tent on the artificial grass of a prison football pitch.

“Jon went on to get the bronze, silver and gold award while serving a six-year sentence.

“The skill he learned during the programme was cooking, and upon leaving prison he set up his very own catering business, now helping other young people to learn new skills and find jobs. ‘It saved my life’, Jon said last week.

“That’s just one life that the Prince helped save; there will be countless others from different walks of life.”

WPA POOL/POOL via Getty Images
Edinburgh: Members of the 105th Regiment Royal Artillery fire a 41-round gun salute.

Patrick Harvie, co-leader of the Scottish Greens, also paid tribute despite the party wishing for an elected head of state.

Highlighting all the lives lost during the coronavirus pandemic, he added: “Today is a moment to extend our thoughts to Prince Philip’s family and to all those who are grieving for their loved ones in a spirit of respect for the equal value of every human life.”

Scottish Lib Dems leader Willie Rennie recalled a meeting in which Prince Philip asked him about a “little blue man” badge he used to wear.

He said: “The Duke of Edinburgh spotted it at a reception. He bounced up, demanding to know what it was. ‘To show support for the prostate cancer campaign’, I said.

“He looked at me closely. He says, ‘have you got it or are you against it?’ Then he bounced off again.

“The engagement was only 30 seconds long, but it has stayed with me and to be retold numerous times over the years.

“It seems that he left lasting impressions with so many others too. Some less repeatable than others, but so many were fun and memorable.”

UK Government refers Holyrood Bills to Supreme Court

Nicola Sturgeon has described as ‘repugnant’ the UK’s Government’s decision to challenge legislation passed in the Scottish Parliament.

Jeff Mitchell/PA via PA Wire
The UK Government has insisted the referral was not due to the substance of the Bills.

The UK Government has referred two Bills passed unanimously by the Scottish Parliament to the Supreme Court over concerns it is outwith Holyrood’s powers.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill and the European Charter of Local Self-Government (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill were passed in the weeks leading up to the parliamentary recess.

The UK Government has insisted the referral was not due to the substance of the Bills, but because of technical aspects which may place legal duties on UK Ministers, but Nicola Sturgeon has described the move as “morally repugnant”.

Before the passage of the Bill, Scottish secretary Alister Jack wrote to the Deputy First Minister to ask for changes to be made to the children’s Bill, which was proposed by the Scottish Government.


No changes were made to the Bill, which aims to ensure no public body in Scotland can infringe upon the rights laid out in the charter, leading to its referral to the Supreme Court on Monday.

A spokeswoman for the UK Government said: “UK Government Law Officers have today referred two Bills from the Scottish Parliament to the Supreme Court under Section 33 of the Scotland Act 1998.

“The UK Government Law Officers’ concerns are not about the substance of the legislation, rather whether parts are outwith the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament.”

In a letter after the passage of the Bill, the Scottish Secretary said there were concerns it would place legal obligations on UK Ministers in reserved areas.


Similar issues were expressed with the local government Bill, which was proposed by independent MSP Andy Wightman.

As the news broke, Sturgeon attacked the move, taking to Twitter to say: “Jaw-dropping. The UK Tory government is going to Court to challenge a law passed by the Scottish Parliament unanimously.

“And for what? To protect their ability to legislate/act in ways that breach children’s rights in Scotland.

“Politically catastrophic, but also morally repugnant.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney also promised to fight the challenge, which he sought to paint as an attack on the rights of children.

“Not a single voice in the Parliament was raised against the Bill. It passed unanimously,” he said.

“And, crucially, it has been certified independently by the Presiding Officer as being within the powers of the Scottish Parliament.


“Now, the Tory Westminster Government is trying to veto those rights. That is not just morally repugnant but it is also deeply menacing.

“The only people who need fear this Bill are people who want to breach children’s rights.

“The only people who want to block this Bill are people who know they are already breaking those rights.

“So, if the Tories want to target the rights of Scottish children, then they can expect to see us in court.”

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said: “The Conservatives are bereft of compassion and have completely lost their way.

“At this time of national crisis, we should be pulling together to build a fairer Scotland, not playing petty political games.

“Scotland deserves a better opposition.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “This is petty and spiteful politics from the Conservatives.

“When the best thing they have to offer is a legal assault on children’s rights, you know you are looking at a party who are dead in the water.

“While Douglas Ross’s moral compass spins wildly, Scottish Liberal Democrats will get on with setting out a positive future for Scotland at the heart of the U.K. and putting the recovery first.”

Scottish pubs ‘disadvantaged’ as England’s lockdown eases

The Scottish Government will decide next week if restrictions will be lifted here on April 26.

Alexander Hassenstein via Getty Images
On April 10, government ministers will review the current plans to ease Scotland's restrictions on April 26.

Pubs in Scotland must wait another two weeks to reopen as beer gardens across England began serving up drinks again on Monday.

If Scottish hospitality does open up on April 26, it will be under curfew restrictions – something that the industry called “simply unfair”.

Don Lawson, of Johnny Foxes, told STV News: “I’m delighted for our neighbours over the border. It does beg the question why is it not happening in Scotland today.

“I’m envious because they don’t have any curfew restrictions like when we open in two weeks time it’s a 10 o’clock curfew, and then going forward to the May 17, it’s a 10.30pm curfew.”


The Scottish Government will decide next week if restrictions will be lifted here on April 26.

No further coronavirus deaths were reported on Monday, with 199 new cases were confirmed.

While cases are often lower following a weekend, the figure is the smallest number of new cases since 70 were recorded on September 14.

The Scottish Beer and Pub Association (SBPA) said the industry relies on trading in the evening and said there is still no indication of when normal licensing hours will return.


Emma McClarkin, SBPA chief executive, said: “Once again Scotland’s pubs and bars will be at a competitive disadvantage to those in England.

“The current arrangement is simply unfair to the licensed trade and the thousands of employees who work in the sector.”

On April 10, government ministers will review the current plans to ease Scotland’s restrictions on April 26.

Mr Lawson said: “I do look forward to two weeks today. People have missed the pub and we and my team here have missed the people.”

Man arrested after blaze rips through community centre

Emergency services were called to a charity-run eco village in Findhorn in the early hours of Monday morning.

BrIan Smith via Jasperimage
Blaze: Extensive damage to community centre following fire.

A man has been arrested after a fire ripped through a community centre in Moray. 

Emergency services were called to The Park, an ecovillage run by the Findhorn Foundation, in the early hours of Monday morning following reports of a fire.

Six appliances were sent to the scene alongside specialist resources in order to extinguish the blaze.

Police have confirmed a 49-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the incident.


A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “We were alerted at 2am on Monday, April 12 to reports of a fire within the Findhorn Foundation Park, Findhorn, Forres, Moray.

“Operations Control mobilised six fire appliances as well as specialist resources to the scene to extinguish the fire.

“There were no reported casualties.

“Firefighters left after ensuring the area was safe.”


The foundation said “extensive damage” has been caused to the community centre and main sanctuary at the eco village.

In a statement on Facebook, Findhorn Foundation said: “We’re so sad to tell you that there was a serious fire here in the early hours of the morning, causing extensive damage to the community centre and the main sanctuary. 

“Thankfully no-one has been hurt.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We were called around 2.05am on Monday, 12 April to a report of a fire at a community centre in The Park, Findhorn, Moray. 

“A 49-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the incident and enquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances.”

Old Firm moved to Sunday to avoid clash with Duke’s funeral

The Scottish FA has changed all fixtures scheduled for the date.

Alan Harvey via SNS Group
The Scottish Cup Fourth Round fixtures have been rescheduled.

The Old Firm game will kick-off at 3pm on Sunday after the Rangers and Celtic match was rescheduled to avoid clashing with Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.

The Scottish Football Association said the change of plans was made following the announcement that Prince Philip’s funeral will take place at 3pm on Saturday, April 17.

All the Scottish Cup Fourth Round fixtures scheduled for the date have been changed.

Rangers versus Celtic was due to kick-off at 4pm on Saturday.


St. Mirren versus Inverness Caledonian and Motherwell versus Greenock Morton will be played on Friday night.

Kilmarnock versus Montrose will kick-off at 11.45am on Saturday, to ensure any extra time and penalties do not overlap with the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral ceremony.

A Scottish FA spokesperson said: “In cognisance of the funeral ceremony of HRH Prince Philip this Saturday, April 17, the Scottish FA can now confirm revised kick-off times for the weekend’s Scottish Cup fourth-round ties.

“These amendments have been made in consultation with broadcast partners, relevant government officials, Police Scotland and participating clubs.”

Car crashes through shopfront in town’s main street

There were no injuries reported following the incident.

Police Scotland
The vehicle collided with the front of the Posthorn 90 on High Street, Annan.

A car has crashed into a gift and jewellery shop in Dumfries and Galloway.

The vehicle collided with the front of the Posthorn 90 on High Street, Annan, around 3.25pm on Monday.

There were no injuries reported following the incident.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Around 3.25pm on Monday, 12 April, we received a report that a vehicle had struck a shop front in Annan High Street.


“Emergency services are in attendance.”

Many Scots pessimistic over summer holiday travel hopes

Concerns over isolation and possible resort restrictions were given as the key reasons to choose a staycation over a foreign trip.

STV News

Many Scots remain unconvinced that they will be able to book a holiday abroad this year.

STV News spoke to people around Aberdeen city centre on Monday to find out if they are confident planning a break in the sun later this year.

Concerns over the requirement to isolate on return and possible resort restrictions were given as the key reasons to choose a staycation over a foreign trip.

UK transport secretary Grant Shapps said that those in England “could start to think” about booking overseas travel as restrictions eased across the country.

However, the Scottish Government said “where possible” it will look to adopt a four-nation approach, but the position in Scotland “remains that it’s not permitted to travel abroad without an essential reason”.

William pays tribute to ‘extraordinary’ grandfather Philip

The Duke of Cambridge says Philip's life was defined by service to country, Commonwealth, Queen and family.

Duchess of Cambridge via Kensington Palace
Prince Philip with his great-grandson Prince George.

The Duke of Cambridge has paid a heartfelt tribute to his grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, describing him as an “extraordinary man and part of an extraordinary generation”.

William’s statement spoke of Philip’s relationship with Kate and expressed his gratitude for the “kindness he showed her”.

The future king summed up the duke saying his “…life was defined by service – to his country and Commonwealth, to his wife and Queen, and to our family”.

Over the weekend the duke’s four children spoke movingly about the loss of their father and how the Queen is stoically coping after her husband of 73 years died peacefully on Friday.

Phil Walter / Staff via Getty Images
Prince Harry, Prince Phillip and Prince William in 2015.

The duke said about Philip: “My grandfather’s century of life was defined by service – to his country and Commonwealth, to his wife and Queen, and to our family.

“I feel lucky to have not just had his example to guide me, but his enduring presence well into my own adult life – both through good times and the hardest days.

“I will always be grateful that my wife had so many years to get to know my grandfather and for the kindness he showed her.

“I will never take for granted the special memories my children will always have of their great-grandpa coming to collect them in his carriage and seeing for themselves his infectious sense of adventure as well as his mischievous sense of humour!


“My grandfather was an extraordinary man and part of an extraordinary generation. Catherine and I will continue to do what he would have wanted and will support The Queen in the years ahead. I will miss my Grandpa, but I know he would want us to get on with the job.”

Kensington Palace tweeted the duke’s statement together with a touching new photograph of a young Prince George with his great-grandfather Philip.

George, a future King, was pictured sat by the duke’s side on the box seat of a carriage, as Philip held the reins and a whip.

Dressed in shorts and a knitted jumper, George is holding open a picture book in the taken in Norfolk in 2015.

The Duke of Sussex also paid tribute to his grandfather, saying he was “a man of service, honour and great humour”.

In a statement issued through his foundation Archewell, Prince Harry said: “My grandfather was a man of service, honour and great humour. He was authentically himself, with a seriously sharp wit, and could hold the attention of any room due to his charm—and also because you never knew what he might say next.

“He will be remembered as the longest reigning consort to the Monarch, a decorated serviceman, a Prince and a Duke. But to me, like many of you who have lost a loved one or grandparent over the pain of this past year, he was my grandpa: master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right ‘til the end.


“He has been a rock for Her Majesty The Queen with unparalleled devotion, by her side for 73 years of marriage, and while I could go on, I know that right now he would say to all of us, beer in hand, ‘Oh do get on with it!’

“So, on that note, Grandpa, thank you for your service, your dedication to Granny, and for always being yourself. You will be sorely missed, but always remembered—by the nation and the world. Meghan, Archie, and I (as well as your future great-granddaughter) will always hold a special place for you in our hearts.

“‘Per Mare, Per Terram.’”

Woman dead after crash between cyclist and van

The road was closed for approximately nine hours for collision investigations to be carried out at the scene.

Andrew Milligan/PA via PA Wire
The driver and passenger from the van were both uninjured (Andrew Milligan/PA)

A cyclist has died after a crash with a van in Dumfries.

The incident happened at around 1.05pm on Sunday on the A710 near Southwick.

A white Peugeot van travelling eastwards was involved in a crash with a cyclist riding a black Trek bicycle which was heading east at Southwick Bridge.

Emergency services attended and 44-year-old Helen Renton from Dumfries was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police Scotland
44-year-old Helen Renton from Dumfries was pronounced dead at the scene (Police Scotland)

Her next of kin has been informed.

Sergeant Leigh McCulloch from Police Scotland’s road policing unit based in Lockerbie said: “Tragically as a result of this crash the cyclist has lost her life and our thoughts at this time are with her family and friends.

“Several people stopped to help at the scene and our inquiries continue to establish what happened.

“I’d ask anyone who saw the crash to get in touch with officers as a priority to help our investigation.


“I’d ask anyone who was recording with dashcam on the A710 who may have captured either the van or bicycle prior to the crash, to check their systems and provide officers with any relevant footage as soon as possible.”

The driver and passenger from the van were both uninjured.

The road was closed for approximately nine hours for collision investigations at the scene.

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