Scotland politics

Scottish Lib Dem leader Rennie wants referendum on Brexit deal

Willie Rennie Image copyright PA
Image caption Willie Rennie: "I am going to stand up for strong liberal values."

The British people should "sign off" the final Brexit deal by voting in another referendum, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has said.

Ahead of his party's conference in Perth, he told BBC Scotland it was the "democratic thing to do".

The complex negotiations required for the UK to end its membership of the European Union are due to begin soon.

Mr Rennie said he respected the will of the people, however, they did not vote last June for the "destination".

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme, the MSP said the whole of the UK needed to be kept in the EU.

When presenter Gary Robertson reminded Mr Rennie that the vote was to end European membership, he responded: "I am in favour of fighting for what I believe in.

"I'm not going to give up in the face of this isolationist approach to the world, the Donald Trump approach, the Brexit approach and I would argue that the decision to break up the UK too is a regressive approach.

"I am not going to stand down in the face of that challenge. I am going to stand up for strong liberal values."

Birthday weekend absence

Members of the Liberal Democrats have gathered for their two-day conference which will feature a keynote speech from Mr Rennie and addresses from Scotland's only Lib Dem MP Alistair Carmichael and former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg.

Mr Rennie explained that current UK leader Tim Farron would not be attending because he had an "important family birthday this weekend".

On the question of another Scottish independence referendum, the Holyrood politician said he did not want one but he conceded that it would be "close, no doubt" if held.

He added: "What we need to do is put forward a very positive uplifting case for the UK.

"This is not just about numbers on a spreadsheet, this is about making sure that we have got a positive case that people can rally around.

"I believe in working with our partners, our neighbours across the UK."

During the conference there will be policy debates on the UK and Europe, mental health, consumer advocacy and HGV speed limits.

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