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Politics / Local Lib Dems pay tribute to party leader

Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie with lShetland MSP Beatrice Wishart during her election campaign in August 2019. Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland News

SHETLAND’s political representatives have paid tribute to Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Willie Rennie after he announced he is stepping down from the role.

The North East Fife MSP has been leader of the Scottish party for a decade.

Shetland’s Lib Dem MSP Beatrice Wishart said: “Willie Rennie’s energy and service to the party as leader shone through when he helped me during the Shetland by-election win in 2019.

“His perseverance at parliament propelled the issues of mental health and education up the agenda.

“Willie Rennie works hard for his constituents and it’s obvious how much they value the tremendous effort he puts in for them. Willie is a valued friend and colleague and I look forward to us continuing to work together in the future.”

Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael, also of the Liberal Democrats, said: “I’m really sorry that Willie Rennie has decided to call it a day as leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats but after 11 years of some of the most frantic politics that Scotland has ever know I can understand why he feels that this is the moment to move on.

“Willie has been a leader of incredible positivity, energy and dedication. The party could not have asked of more from their leader than he has given. I know that he will continue to serve both his constituents and the Liberal Democrats in the Scottish Parliament in the same way, whatever job he has.”

There are only four Liberal Democrat MSPs in the Scottish Parliament – Rennie, Wishart, Orkney’s Liam McArthur and Edinburgh Western’s Alex Cole-Hamilton.

One is likely to be in the frame to replace Rennie as leader.