Tavish Scott wins Liberal Democrat leadership race

TAVISH Scott will be the new leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

He emerged victorious from a three-way leadership contest whose result was announced today in Edinburgh.

Mr Scott secured 59 per cent of the vote, comfortably beating rivals Ross Finnie and Mike Rumbles.

The post fell vacant when Nicol Stephen stood down last month for family reasons.

The contest was decided by around 3000 party members.

Mr Scott's victory came on first-preference votes.

The 59 per cent margin easily surpassed the requirement that to win outright, the successful candidate had to achieve 50 per cent of the votes plus one.

He said: "Can I thank the party for this, the gold medal of the Liberal Democrats Olympics."

The result was announced at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh in front of an audience of MPs, MSPs and party activists.

Ross Finnie achieved 23.1 per cent of the vote, and Mike Rumbles 17.9 per cent.

In numbers, Mr Scott secured 1,450 votes to Mr Finnie's 568 and Mr Rumbles's 439.

UK Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said: "I am delighted that Tavish Scott has been chosen as the new leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

"He will bring energy and enthusiasm to the role, taking the fight to the SNP and Labour right across Scotland.

"The Liberal Democrats are the only party who represent all of Scotland, urban and rural, east and west, Highland, island and lowland."

Mr Clegg went on: "Tavish will address the issues that matter most to the people of Scotland, not the narrow-minded squabbles of the Nationalists and Labour."

But Scottish Tory deputy leader Murdo Fraser offered Mr Scott barbed congratulations.

"We congratulate Tavish on his election as the Lib Dem leader," he said.

"He will have a tough job as he takes over the reins of Scotland's fourth party, especially since Scottish politics is now a three-horse race."