Willie Rennie warns civil liberties being eroded under SNP

Willie Rennie is concerend about civil liberties under the SNP Picture: Greg Macvean
Willie Rennie is concerend about civil liberties under the SNP Picture: Greg Macvean
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Civil liberties are being slowly eroded under the SNP Government, according to Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie.

Mr Rennie will say only his party has effectively opposed the Nationalists on issues such as police stop-and-search, the abolition of corroboration and plans for an ID database.

Speaking at the party’s North East of Scotland regional conference, he will say the Liberal Democrats will continue to stand up to the “illiberal” SNP after May’s Holyrood election.

Mr Rennie is expected to say: “Too often we take our civil liberties for granted and under the SNP Government they have been slowly degraded.

“It has only been the effective campaigns run by the Liberal Democrats that has provided any form of opposition to their changes.

“The Liberal Democrats led successful campaigns against industrial scale, unjustified stop-and-search and the routine arming of the police. We fought against the erosion of the scope of freedom of information powers. We forced a retreat on the abolition of corroboration.

“The SNP’s proposal to introduce an intrusive ID database has stalled following opposition from the Liberal Democrats. And just this week we won the case on the regulation of facial recognition technology.

“The Liberal Democrats stood alone in opposition to the centralisation of Scotland’s police forces. It has led to the undermining of traditional Scottish policing, low morale amongst staff and officers, and change being imposed on communities from police HQ in the central belt.

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“And despite all the warnings about the chaos in control rooms, shockingly it took the tragic M9 crash before a proper investigation was launched.

“The casual disregard of civil liberties by the illiberal SNP and the other parties shows the real value of strong liberal voices in the Scottish Parliament.”

An SNP spokesman said: “For five years the Lib Dems worked hand in glove with the Tories to implement austerity, inflict welfare cuts on the poorest and infamously betrayed their no tuition fees pledge - in addition to propping up a Tory government which is now hell-bent on scrapping human rights legislation.

“With recorded crime at a 41-year-low and over 1,000 extra police officers on our streets, it’s no surprise that a recent opinion poll found that 51% of people in Scotland are satisfied with the SNP’s record on justice while only 20 per cent are dissatisfied - a remarkable achievement after nine years in office.”

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