Scotland politics

Scottish Lib Dems target 'moderate' Labour voters

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Media captionWillie Rennie: Brexit will undermine the UK

The leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats has urged "moderate" Labour voters who feel "without a political home" to back his party instead.

Willie Rennie said many voters were concerned about Labour moving "far to the left" under Jeremy Corbyn.

And he said the Lib Dems were the only party committed to stopping Brexit and another independence referendum.

Mr Rennie was speaking as he formally launched his party's campaign ahead of the general election on 12 December.

Elsewhere on the Scottish general election campaign trail:

  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson told an audience in Elgin that a vote for the Conservatives is a vote to stop indyref2
  • SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon called on the prime minister to apologise "for the misery heaped on Scottish people" by austerity and welfare cuts and for the "chaos" of Brexit.
  • Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard pledged to create "new, well-paid, high-skilled jobs" through a £70bn investment in Scotland's industries and public services

Speaking to Lib Dem supporters at their campaign launch in Cramond, near Edinburgh, Mr Rennie claimed that Labour was now "out of touch with moderate, reasonable people".

And he predicted that his party would win over a large number of people with its "crystal clear message" ahead of the election: "We want to stop Brexit, we want to stop independence and build a brighter future."

Mr Rennie added: "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.

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

"We need to stop Brexit, because every single option for it damages the economy and divides the country. We want to stop independence because that'll just repeat the mistakes of Brexit."

Mr Rennie said that his party will cancel Brexit if it wins the election, and take independence "off the table" - which he said would allow it to focus on mental health provisions, the NHS and climate change - which he described as the "big crisis of this generation".

Elsewhere, the Scottish Conservatives welcomed the prime minister to Moray on his first full day of campaigning ahead of the vote.

Mr Johnson told supporters that a vote for the Scottish Conservatives would be a "vote to stop a second independence referendum and to get Brexit done".

He added: "The other choice is a vote for Jeremy Corbyn, who would spend next year dancing to the SNP's tune, wasting the year with two divisive referendums - one on the EU and one to give up on our union."

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Image caption Mr Johnson visited a distillery in Moray during his visit to Scotland

But Ms Sturgeon, who wants to hold an independence referendum next year, said backing the SNP would be "a vote to escape Brexit and to put Scotland's future in Scotland's hands".

The first minister added: "The only thing Boris Johnson should be coming to Scotland to do is apologise for the chaos he and his party have subjected us to for years.

"He is a prime architect of the Brexit vote and the utter shambles it has now led to."

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard was also on the campaign trail as he highlighted his party's pledge to invest £70bn into Scotland's industries and public services during a visit to a manufacturing business in Midlothian.

Speaking ahead of the visit, he said the investment would "put Scotland's economy back on the map" and create well-paid, high-skilled jobs, giving workers "the security they need to get on in life".

Anti-semitism

A Labour candidate in Aberdeenshire has quit following a row over anti-semitism.

Kate Ramsden stood down in the Gordon constituency after the Jewish Chronicle highlighted a blog post in which they said she compared Israel to an abused child that becomes an abusive adult and claimed anti-semitism allegations against Jeremy Corbyn were "orchestrated by the wealthy establishment".

Scottish Labour's ruling body had decided to reconsider Ms Ramsden's candidacy.

A party source said they had taken "swift and robust" action.

Another Scottish Labour candidate, Frances Hoole, was earlier dropped in Edinburgh South West.

The party refused to endorse Ms Hoole after she posted an image on social media of her SNP rival, Joanna Cherry, being targeted with a bleach spray.

Frances Hoole has apologised.