Scotland politics

Willie Rennie: Scots don't want second independence vote

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionWillie Rennie says Scotland does not want "another divisive independence referendum"

Willie Rennie has said Scottish voters do not want another "divisive" independence referendum.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats leader claimed a second vote was not necessary because Scots knew what they were voting for in 2014.

Mr Rennie said the SNP should realise "the Scottish people don't want this. We don't want to go back into the division".

But he said voters should be able "to reject a bad deal over Brexit."

Mr Rennie was taking part in the BBC's Ask the Leader programme on Monday, where he took questions from voters on issues such as Brexit, a second independence referendum, and a potential "progressive alliance" to beat the Tories.

His party are campaigning to give UK voters a second referendum on the Brexit deal, but he denied that another independence vote was needed.

He said: "The oil price has plummeted, we've got a £15bn deficit, we've got economic circumstances which are much worse in Scotland, and we are teetering on the edge of an economic recession.

"We need to recognise that three years ago we decisively decided to reject the SNP's proposition on independence. We have rejected that deal, we need to get on.

"The opinion polls clearly show that people in Scotland don't want another independence referendum."

Mr Rennie called the Liberal Democrats the most pro-EU of the parties in the UK, and said voters had not been given the "detail" before the EU poll.

He said: "I think because we were denied the detail last year, we should be offered it before we go ahead with it. The Conservatives are absolutely determined to deliver a hard Brexit. I think the British people should be given that final say, rather than Theresa May."

He continued: "We've got to recognise we are better working with our closest neighbours.

"Just like I believe that Scotland should work with the United Kingdom, I think the UK should work within the EU as our closest allies and our best friends."

Progressive alliance

The North East Fife MSP also said his party would "have nothing to do with" any alliance with the SNP and Labour intended to stop the Conservatives forming the next government.

Asked whether he would rather see a Tory government than going into coalition with "progressive" parties, Mr Rennie said he would prefer neither.

He said: "We couldn't possibly do a deal with Theresa May, with her plan for a damaging hard Brexit.

"We are very European, she is careering towards something that is going to be very dangerous for our economy, for jobs, for security, and also for our NHS funding."

"Jeremy Corbyn has just backed up Theresa May in terms of a damaging hard Brexit," he added.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites