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Tavish quits as Lib-Dem leader


SHETLAND MSP Tavish Scott is to step down as leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats after his party’s disastrous performance at the Scottish parliament elections.

The Lib-Dems lost eleven of its 16 MSPs, and have just two constituency and three list MSPs in the new parliament.

They were wiped out in many constituencies all over mainland Scotland with many candidates losing their deposits.

Mr Scott had initially blamed the unpopularity of the Westminster coalition for the collapse of the Lib-Dem vote in Scotland, but on Saturday afternoon he took responsibility and resigned with immediate effect.

This follows after senior Lib-Dems, including Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael, had praised Mr Scott earlier on Saturday for his leadership during a difficult election campaign.

In a short statement issued by the party’s headquarters, Mr Scott said: “I want to announce that I am resigning the leadership of the Scottish Liberal Democrats with immediate effect.

“Thursday’s Scottish General Election result was disastrous and I must and do take responsibility for the verdict of the electorate.

“The party needs a new direction, new thinking and new leadership to win back the trust of the Scottish people.

“I am honoured to serve as Shetland’s MSP in this parliament.”

Mr Scott lost almost 20 per cent of his huge majority in Shetland when coming under pressure from independent candidate Billy Fox, who took 30 per cent of the vote, and also suffering from the general downturn in the Lib-Dem vote.

The only other constituency the Lib-Dems were able to win was Orkney, where Liam McArthur lost many votes  to independent candidate James Stockan and the SNP’s Donna Heddle, but managed to hold the seat for the Lib-Dems with a much reduced majority.

Photo: Tavish Scott at the polling station in Bressay, on Thursday – Photo: Hans J Marter, Shetland News

Scottish Parliament election, 6 May 2021