Scotland politics

Scottish Lib Dems launch council election manifesto

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Media captionScottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie says his party will stand up for local people

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have launched their national manifesto for May's local authority elections.

Scotland goes to the polls to elect its local councillors on 4 May.

The Lib Dems are putting forward candidates in a record number of wards, aiming to build on recent by-election wins.

Party leader Willie Rennie said Lib Dem candidates would "put people first", accusing the SNP and Greens of "putting independence first".

The Lib Dems are looking to bounce back from the 2012 elections, where they lost more than half their council seats in the aftermath of a coalition deal with the Tories at Westminster.

The manifesto describes the party as "intent on winning more seats and playing a major part in Scottish councils".

While campaigns in different council areas will highlight local issues, the manifesto sets out the party's national priorities, including mental health, education and enhanced powers for local communities and councils.

It also underlines the party's backing for a reformed federal UK and "continued membership of the European Union", proposing a referendum on the terms of the Brexit deal.

Image caption Willie Rennie and his Lib Dems launched their manifesto aboard a sit-on lawnmower

At the launch event in Inverkeithing, Mr Rennie said he was confident the party could build on by-election wins and gain seats across Scotland.

He said: "Local Liberal Democrat councillors have an impressive record of action and service for their communities. They work all year round for local people, not just at election time.

"This year's elections present an excellent opportunity to build on our by-election successes across the country with gains from all parties. We are contesting more wards and looking to win more seats on 4 May.

"As the SNP and Greens put independence first, Liberal Democrats will put local people first. Scotland does not need another divisive independence referendum."

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