Alistair Carmichael accuses SNP of creating a legacy of ‘division’

Alistair Carmichael has accused the SNP of creating a legacy of nothing but “division”.

Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael claimed the SNP had a "legacy" of division

The Liberal Democrats MP criticised the Scottish Government’s record and questioned what the SNP had actually achieved.

Mr Carmichael, the Lib Dems election chair, also claimed there was a “Lib Dem shaped hole in the middle of Scottish politics”.

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He said: “By the time we get to May next year, the SNP will have been in power for 14 years.

“For most of that they have had a dominant position, if not a majority, but what is the legacy, what have you improved?

“The only answer is one of national division and a divided country as a consequence.“Rather than taking a polarising position, I would much rather the debate moved on to how we rebuild the economy.”

The Orkney and Shetland MP claimed Nicola Sturgeon’s party had an appeal to voters, but that it plummeted whenever they discussed independence.

He explained: “The challenge for the SNP is that every time they start talking about independence, support for them goes backwards.

“The current division and visceral quality that you have in politics at the moment isn’t healthy, and I would much rather that we were able to work as a unifying influence than people just there to benefit from division.”

His comments came one week on from a poll showing record high public support for Scottish independence.

Making a pitch to unionists, Mr Carmichael also compared the independence argument to that of leaving the European Union.

He said: “Among the more thoughtful voters there is an understanding now that the problems of Brexit will become the problems of independence.

“At a time we are facing massive public health and economic challenges the last thing we need is another run-around.”

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Mr Carmichael claimed the flurry of support for independence stemmed from a weak and unpopular Westminster government.

He explained: “The Conservatives and Boris Johnson, in particular, are the gift that keeps on giving for Scottish nationalists.

“He is tone deaf for whole swathes of the country and Scotland, in particular, that’s true of Wales, true of south west, the north east, and the north west.

“Conservative MPs in Westminster are absolutely despairing, and those former red wall seats are looking pretty shaky now because of Johnson and his cronies.

“Ruth Davidson was enormously successful as a leader who wanted to keep the UK together and Boris has just trashed that.”

The Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson claimed current events had created the “perfect cocktail” for his party to reverse its fortunes in the elections next year.

He said: “We are starting from a low base, but I think we should be fairly confident of holding the seats that we have, then there are other places like Lib Dem strongholds where I think we’ve got excellent prospects.

“When you are climbing up off the floor, it’s never going to be easy.

“I think the moderate people who want to keep the UK together or might want independence, but not the trauma and difficulties that come with another referendum, are now up for grabs.

“When people in Scotland are leaping at the options available, the Scottish Lib Dems are the only party that ticks all the boxes for the moderate mainstream”.

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