Lib Dems In Scotland Reach Out To The SNP

Lib Dems' Olive Branch To Alex Salmond

The Liberal Democrats will today open the door to working with the Scottish National Party to deliver more powers to Holyrood if Scotland votes no to independence.

The party suffered its worst results for a generation in last year's elections to the Scottish parliament, after the Lib Dems' coalition with the Toriews caused a collapse in trust for Nick Clegg.

In his closing speech to the Scottish Liberal Democrat conference in Inverness, Scottish leader Willie Rennie will pledge to make his party the "guarantors of change" after the referendum.

He will point to recent comments from leading figures in other parties, including Prime Minister David Cameron and former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling, and say that this "paves the way for agreement on more powers for


He will also open up the possibility of working jointly with the SNP, after a no vote, to deliver "a stronger Scottish Parliament".

Mr Rennie will say: "Be in no doubt. Other parties might say they want home rule but they are only taking their first, hesitant, infant steps.

"We will need to be the ones who bring people together and bring people along.

"We will be the guarantors of change.

"We have wanted home rule for 100 years.

"It is our job to convince people that a modern, outward-looking, positive, confident United Kingdom - a liberal country - will mean that Scotland can be modern, outward-looking, positive and confident too.

"Scotland with the powers to run our home affairs but proud to share the wins and share the risks with the United Kingdom family of nations.

"And so now, we welcome the growing clamour for change across Britain."

Yesterday, former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy warned of the dangers of a "tribal campaign" to save the union, and called on Labour and its STUC allies to find "common cause" with the Scottish Conservatives.

Last month, Mr Cameron and Mr Darling both held out the prospect of enhanced devolution for Scotland, but only if Scotland rejects independence in a straight yes or no ballot.

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