Tag Archives: willie rennie

Rennie says Donald Trump should accept invitation from Edinburgh Muslims

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie  today said that US Presidential hopeful Donald Trump should meet Scottish muslims during his forthcoming trip to Scotland. He lands in the UK just before the EU Referendum and the opening of his Turnberry golf course takes place the day after when most of us will have better things to do than pay attention to him.

It’s good, though, that leaders from the Annandale Mosque and Roxburgh Street Mosque and Islamic centre in Edinburgh have invited Mr Trump to visit them while he’s here to learn more about their work in the community.  He might …

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Rennie: Deal with Chinese company with bad human rights record would tarnish Scotland’s human rights reputation

Any contract signed with the China Rail Group CR3 will tarnish Scotland’s human rights record. So says Willie Rennie following the refusal of the First Minister to rule out such a contract with the controversial company.

Watch their exchange at First Minister’s Questions here:

Nicola’s bad-tempered response shows her defensiveness on this issue.

This week saw revelations in response to Parliamentary Questions by Willie and Freedom of Information requests that government officials tried on multiple occasions to remove reference to the China Railway Group from documents around the Memorandum of Understanding but the First Minister still signed the final agreement with them.

The FOI releases include a letter from the First Minister expressing “delight” that the specific projects presented had been well-received by the Chinese investors. This contradicts the Government’s assertion that specific projects were not on the table.

Answers to PQs from Willie show that the Scottish Government had not made any checks to find out that the China Railway Group had been blacklisted by the Norwegian state pension fund, or investigate the human rights concerns expressed by Amnesty International about their work in Africa.

And to compound the ill-advisedness of this process, apparently Brian Souter, SNP donor and campaigner against LGBT rights, had been mentioned as a potential investor.

It has now emerged that Sir Brian Souter, a high-profile SNP supporter and donor, was discussed as a possible investor in a deal potentially worth over £10bn from an early stage.

Willie says that the First Minister needs to decide whether to drop China Rail Group CR3 or drop Scottish values on human rights.

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Rennie: We need to keep access to EU markets easy for business

Willie Rennie argues today that we need to make sure that we keep access to EU markets easy for business. We don’t want to be putting borders up, creating more red tape, which could cause problems and cut jobs. He says:

At the heart of the argument for remaining in Europe is a single market, making trade easier, and allowing businesses based on innovation and excellence to thrive is going to underpin our future success.

That was the argument that won the independence referendum and is just as powerful now.

Three million jobs in Britain depend on Europe. We need to make Europe easy for business.

As part of Europe we are part of an economic market worth trillions. There are 500 million customers.

It means that a Scottish company that is good and efficient at its job can expand across the continent.

Easy access to 500 million customers is worth millions of jobs in Britain.

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Willie Rennie announces Lib Dem leadership team – with a majority of women

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has announced his leadership team which contains the 5 MSPs and 7 women from outside Parliament. Some of them will be well known to LDV readers.

Willie said:

Scottish Liberal Democrats have punched above our weight over the last five years at the Scottish Parliament and the team announced today will help ensure that we continue to lead the agenda.

Our party is full of talented people and I am delighted that senior party figures outside of Holyrood will play a leading role in driving our policy agenda forwards for the next five years. They have contributed a huge amount to the communities they serve, from councillors to campaigners, and bring a wealth of experience to the team.

This gender balanced team will provide strong liberal voices inside and outside parliament. These appointments will put the Liberal Democrats in the strongest possible position to grow over the next five years.

The team includes:

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What Willie said…..when he stood for First Minister

Willie Rennie’s candidacy for First Minister in the Scottish Parliament this week attracted some comment in the press. Andrew Liddle in the Press and Journal was very complimentary:

While it was clearly going to end in defeat, it also offered up a golden opportunity for Mr Rennie to expound his platform.

True to character, it was an irreverent move, not a devious one.

Here is Willie’s speech – he combines exactly the right mix of self-deprecating humour and statesmanlike vision.

“Ohhhh dad. You’re not are you?”

Those were the encouraging words from my unimpressed 12 year old son when he heard on the radio this morning that I was standing for First Minister.

I told Stephen that I had been inspired by a women nationalist leader who stood up against the odds.

But unlike Leanne Wood I won’t be relying on UKIP votes today.

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Some reflections on #IDAHOBIT

Today is the annual International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia as we saw from Team INtogether’s post earlier.

The party has been marking the day in various ways. We’ve been tweeting up a storm. Liz Barker and Jonny Oates recorded this video:

There’s been a series of lovely graphics:

Norman Lamb has resubmitted his motion calling for people who want gender neutral passports to be able to have them. Recently, I saw on social media a teacher who has transgender and non binary pupils under their care object to these proposals. Imagine how that makes their pupils feel and how confident they would feel about that teacher to support them. That brings me to what’s been happening north of the border.

Willie Rennie took time out of his short-lived campaign to be First Minister to emphasise the need for all teachers in all schools – that’s the denominational ones, too – to be trained to ensure that all Scotland’s schools are inclusive environments for learning.

He said:

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It’s Willie vs Goliath in Holyrood

This afternoon, MSPs will choose the new First Minister of Scotland. Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the largest single party will not be unopposed, though. Willie Rennie, on his fifth anniversary as Scottish leader, is standing against her. Willie is a massive optimist, but I doubt even he expects to get more than a handful of votes. We won’t have a Wales scenario in Edinburgh. However, it is important that someone lays down a marker that the SNP, which no longer has a majority, has to work to make its case to Parliament. Nicola Sturgeon’s comments that she expects Parliament to respect her mandate are not the sort of comments you would expect from a leader without a majority. She has to show a bit of humility and respect for Parliament.

This will not be the only time when the Liberal Democrats will lead the opposition to the SNP, as we did so often in the last Parliament. On Thursday, Sturgeon presents her list of Ministers to the Parliament. Under its standing orders, Parliament can only reject any new names. It can’t pass judgement on any of the people already in post. Willie Rennie has appointed Mike Rumbles to be Business Manager (or chief whip). This is a role that he took during the last period of Holyrood minority government from 2007-11. His experience of the Parliament’s procedures will be helpful.

The Liberal Democrats have been horrified at the total muck-up the SNP has made over payments to farmers. During the election, Tavish Scott slammed the SNP for seeking to charge interest to farmers on emergency payments made to them while they sorted out their IT system. It seems incomprehensible that Parliament should not even get a say as to the performance of the Minister responsible. The Parliament has an opportunity to assert itself and reject that Minister. The Press and Journal reports:

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