Tag Archives: willie rennie

Rennie says SNP Government must put more into mental health, the police and helping disadvantaged kids in schools

It’s time for the Scottish Parliament to debate the Government’s budget plans for the coming year. It’s particularly interesting this year as the SNP no longer has a majority and must secure the backing, or at least the abstention, of others in order for the budget to pass.

Willie Rennie has written to Derek Mackay, the SNP’s Finance Minister, to set out the changes that the Liberal Democrats wish to see before they could consider supporting the budget.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that he is sticking to the priorities we outlined in our manifesto for the Scottish elections last year – more money for disadvantaged kids in schools as we implemented successfully south of the border, an expansion of mental health services, particularly for young people, and more funding for the Police who are struggling to cope with the SNP’s disastrous centralisation.

It’s quite important that we have all this in mind in everything that we do during this Parliament. We need to think about what we want to achieve and what we will have to say to voters in 2021 about what we have fought for and where we are not prepared to settle for tepid, unambitious half-measures. In the last Parliament, where the SNP had a majority, we still made issues like early years education, colleges, the Police, civil liberties and mental health our own and won significant concessions from the SNP in budget discussions. Now that there is no majority, we need to push for more.

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Senior Liberal Democrats respond to Theresa May’s hard Brexit

We brought you Tim Farron’s response to Theresa May’s announcement that Britain is seeking reckless isolation, but what have other Liberal Democrats been saying about it.

Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder:

This government’s pursuit of a hard Brexit and pulling Britain out of the Single Market will mean losing so much more than just free trading arrangements.

Theresa May’s hard Brexit will strip future generations of the life-changing opportunities to travel, work and study across Europe.

Millions who voted both Remain and Leave on 23rd June don’t endorse this extreme version of Brexit. It must be the people who have a say on any final Brexit deal.

The EU referendum left Britain deeply divided and it seems Theresa May is intent on stoking further discord and division.

Sooner or later this Conservative Brexit government will realise that it cannot govern for only those who endorse Nigel Farage’s vision for Europe.

 

Paddy Ashdown:

Willie Rennie: The Conservatives are hell bent on a hard Brexit that nobody voted for

Nick Clegg:

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Rennie calls on SNP to back Lib Dem efforts on Brexit deal referendum

The Scottish Government consults on all sorts of important things. At the moment, it’s consulting on expanding early learning and childcare in Scotland and on the best way to empower teachers. What could possibly be more important than that?

How predictable. I don’t expect the SNP to give up on their quest for independence, but do they really have to give it the top billing? The SNP take comfort from a poll which shows support for independence still pretty much where it was at the referendum – but ignore that more than 50% of those asked really don’t want to do it all over again.

In the aftermath of the EU Referendum, it seemed like Nicola Sturgeon was building a pretty big tent to try to find a way forward for Scotland. Sadly, though, it seems that the SNP are unable to find a road that doesn’t lead to independence whereas the Lib Dems are focused on keeping Scotland in the UK and the UK in the EU. If the SNP were to work with us, then we might well have the parliamentary numbers to ensure a key part of that – a referendum on the Brexit deal.

Willie Rennie called on them to do just that today:

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Willie Rennie’s New Year Message: Lib Dems THE pro UK, pro EU progressive party

Last year Liberal Democrats started winning again. Our wins in the May elections, our victory in local council elections and our stunning win in Richmond were great progress. Those wins combined with our thousands of new members means the Liberal Democrats are back. We started winning again because people want champions for an open, tolerant, generous, internationalist, progressive kind of country.

This year our ambitions are for the United Kingdom to remain in the European Union, Scotland to remain in the UK and Scotland to adopt a progressive programme to make us the best again.

Liberal Democrats are the only party that is Pro UK, Pro EU and Progressive.

My colleagues and I will make the powerful case for a Brexit Deal Referendum on the terms of the deal. It would only be right for voters to have the final say rather than just signing a blank cheque for the Prime Minister to agree any deal she likes no matter what the consequences.

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Willie Rennie talks about solutions to poverty, poor housing and low wages

Holyrood Magazine has been asking Scottish political leaders what they would do to tackle poverty. Here’s his ambitious answer to a question about whether the Scottish Government’s child poverty targets (less than 10% in relative poverty and 5% in absolute poverty by 2030) were acceptable:

Any child in poverty is unacceptable and any government should be working towards eradicating poverty altogether. Obviously, that is quite a challenge but we should set ourselves to be that ambitious. ​

And if we had to pay more taxes to ensure that? His answer isn’t surprising given that he’s the only Scottish leader to propose a rise in income tax for a “transformational” investment in education.

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Willie Rennie’s Christmas message

The festive season affords us the opportunity to reflect on what is important in life.

During the festive season we witness the joy that comes from acts of generosity and we can see that there is much to be celebrated. Our thanks must go out to those who work over Christmas including the emergency services who keep us safe. Our thoughts are with those who are unwell, alone or struggling. And our appreciation is with those who come to their aid.

However, there is little doubt we are in a more uncertain and dark place in global affairs. The election of President Trump and the decision to sever links with our friends in Europe have taken our society in the wrong direction.

With attacks in Turkey, the conflict in Yemen, and the war in Syria with its awful reports from Aleppo, it is imperative we do not turn our backs no matter how difficult the challenge.

Yet there is hope in the response to these conflicts and to the rise of divisive politics. The positive alternative of government and charitable international aid combined with alternative voices that promote tolerance, optimism, openness and unity means that there is light amongst this darkness.

There is hope at Christmas.

Enjoy Christmas.

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Willie Rennie: Amazon must change its ways

Back in January, Willie Rennie called out both Amazon and Nicola Sturgeon over low wages and poor working conditions at the company’s Dunfermline depot. A couple of months later, he found himself banned from the premises after Amazon management cancelled a planned meeting with workers to discuss the issues.

Things haven’t got any better for the beleaguered employees at the depot. This week, the Courier revealed that some seasonal workers were sleeping out in tents in this weather to save the costs of commuting to and from the depot.

Then an undercover reporter working for the Sunday Times (£) wrote about her experience of working there:

In one case, a woman who spent three days in hospital with a kidney infection was docked two points, reduced to one on appeal, despite providing a hospital note.

And:

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarGeoffrey Payne 22nd Jan - 12:03pm
    This is absolutely what we should be doing. I know where I live in Hackney which is a Remain stronghold that it is easy to...
  • User AvatarNick Cunningham 22nd Jan - 11:54am
    A don't understand this argument democracy should stand still because one camp has won a referendum by under 4% in their favour. Democracy does not...
  • User Avatarexpats 22nd Jan - 11:41am
    WW, Perhaps you should start with our leadership? Demanding a re-run of the referendum in every speech, because those who voted out (your 'left behinders')...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 22nd Jan - 11:23am
    Peston-on-Sunday's use of the word "Panglossian" without explanation, at the end of the programme, was interesting, but elite. Oxfor, Chambers, Slang and BBC dictionaries did...
  • User Avatarjames 22nd Jan - 11:19am
    Sorry this attitude about Free movement ie let's bend over backwards to carry on with our sectarian faith about it is not going to work....
  • User AvatarAntony Watts 22nd Jan - 11:02am
    Stop flailing around in the political mire. Just define exactly what LibDem pro-EU policies would be. Concisely, one line bullets. 1. The Union’s aim is...