Scotland's smaller parties bring leaders on campaign trail

Scotland's smaller parties are trotting out their big names on the campaign trail today.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron has accompanied Willie Rennie on the campaign trail Picture Toby Williams
Leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron has accompanied Willie Rennie on the campaign trail Picture Toby Williams

UK Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron and the Green Party’s first MP Caroline Lucas are heading north to canvass for votes for their Scottish candidates.

Mr Farron will join Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie at a nursery in Cowdenbeath before meeting voters in Dunfermline.

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Speaking ahead of the visit, Mr Farron said: “Ten years ago, Willie Rennie fought a winning campaign in Dunfermline that was upbeat, energetic, optimistic and packed full of ambition. That is exactly the sort of campaign Willie has run again this time round and the Scottish Liberal Democrats will grow at this election.

“In places like Edinburgh Western, North East Fife and other areas too, people are voting Liberal Democrat for the first time based on the bold and positive programme for Scotland that Willie has set out. Liberal Democrats want Scotland to be the best again and we are back to our best too.”

Ms Lucas will join Lothians candidates Alison Johnstone and Andy Wightman at a nursery in Edinburgh, before going on to meet anti-fracking campaigners in Falkirk with Scottish Green co-convener Maggie Chapman.

Later, she will join Patrick Harvie, the Scottish Greens’ other convenor, and candidate Zara Kitson at Glasgow Gurdwara, the city’s Sikh temple.

Ms Lucas said: “Greens have taken a clear and principled stand on fracking in contrast to the other parties.

“We have stood up for threatened communities. When figures such as the Governor of the Bank of England are warning of the economic risk of over-exposure to fossil fuels, the need for bold action on this issue is clear.

“With more Greens in the Scottish Parliament there is a greater chance of Scotland enforcing a ban, and that would show real leadership to the rest of the UK.”

Meanwhile, Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale will be in Aberdeen to promote her plans for investment in housing.

She said: “After nearly a decade in office the SNP turned a housing shortage into a housing crisis.

“Scotland has more than 150,000 people on social waiting lists, and an unacceptable amount of private tenants living in poverty.

“Meanwhile young people across Scotland are trapped in a cycle which is so hard to escape from. They can’t afford a deposit so they rent, but the rent is so high they can’t save up.

“Labour will build a minimum of 60,000 affordable homes over the next five years, 45,000 of which will be council or housing association homes.”

SNP Leader and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will address a women’s business event in Glasgow, where she will set out the actions a re-elected SNP Government would take to grow the economy and empower more women to fulfil their ambitions.

She will say: “This election is the most important since devolution. With new responsibilities coming to the Scottish Parliament over taxation and welfare, the next parliament offers a significant opportunity to grow the economy, to support business, and to make Scotland a fairer society.

“To achieve real economic success we must see the public and the private sectors working together.

“And we will only reach our full potential when we are truly inclusive - when everyone has an equal opportunity to fulfil their ambitions and when the glass ceiling has been firmly broken.”

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson will board the Sir Walter Scott steamship on Loch Katrine, near Callander, to meet crew and staff on the tourist attraction.

Ukip MEP David Coburn will visit a marketing firm in Dundee.