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Scottish independence would bring chaos of Brexit multiplied – Rennie

The Scottish Lib Dem leader said that the lessons of Brexit had to be learned – not repeated.

Willie Rennie (Gareth Fuller/PA)
Willie Rennie (Gareth Fuller/PA)

By Elizabeth Arnold, PA Political Staff

Scottish independence would bring “all the chaos of Brexit multiplied”, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has said.

Backing the Union, Mr Rennie told Lib Dem members at the party conference in Bournemouth that pursuing independence for Scotland “will simply add to our woes”, adding: “We need to learn the lessons of Brexit, not repeat the mistakes.”

The Holyrood MSP also claimed former Tory prime minister David Cameron had “humiliated our nation”.

He argued that current Prime Minister Boris Johnson was “held hostage, a prisoner of Nigel Farage”, and added of the Conservatives: “They are doubling down for no-deal, they are expelling their moderates.”

Mr Rennie also branded Labour’s opposition and position on Europe an “absolute embarrassment”.

He drew parallels between Brexit and Scottish independence, urging voters to “imagine the pain of breaking 300-year-old ties”.

The party’s Scottish leader said: “We can keep Scotland in the United Kingdom, and the United Kingdom in Europe. We don’t need or want independence.

“Some think independence would allow us to escape Brexit. But it will simply add to our woes. All the chaos of Brexit multiplied, and multiplied again.

“We need to learn the lessons of Brexit, not repeat the mistakes.

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Mr Rennie warned Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn that party leader Jo Swinson is ‘on the march’ (Jonathan Brady/PA)

“Our ties with Europe are deep and valuable. Our ties in the UK are even deeper and even more valuable.

“Cutting those ties with Europe after 40 years is absolute torture. We should only imagine the pain of breaking 300-year-old ties. And it would be the vulnerable who would suffer most, just like Brexit.”

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson received a huge boost from members over the weekend when they overwhelmingly backed her plan to revoke Article 50, should she be installed in Downing Street.

Mr Rennie said his new party leader was “on the march”.

He told members: “In the midst of a national crisis, Jo Swinson is rising up. It’s time for the old to make way for the new.

“When you look at Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, the answer has to be Jo Swinson.

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Mr Rennie joked that the former prime minister’s memoirs should have been entitled Honey I Shrunk The Country (Hannah McKay/PA)

“So Boris (Johnson) and Jeremy (Corbyn) – watch out, Jo is on the march.”

He added: “We must stop a no-deal Brexit, but we must stop Brexit, full stop.”

Mr Rennie called on Scottish Conservatives to stand up over Brexit or “forever be condemned as a waste of Scottish space”.

Addressing Mr Cameron, he added: “You imposed the divisions of your party on our country. You arrogantly believed you could win anything.

“You walked away when it got tough and hid in your shed.

“And you have humiliated our nation.

“David Cameron – you have got a lot to answer for. You should have called your book Honey I Shrunk The Country.”

PA

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