Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has paid tribute to the “liberal giants” of north politics following the party’s disastrous General Election result.
Mr Rennie said that the party would reflect seriously on the verdict of the Scottish people after it was left with just one MP north of the border.
But he added that the campaign for next year’s Scottish Parliament election starts now.
Tomorrow, he will hold a consultative meeting with party members, who numbers have been boosted by more than 2,000 in the past 24 hours.
Mr Rennie said: “Scotland has lost liberal giants. Our Members of Parliament were local champions with powerful liberal voices. They enriched the political debate of our country.
“I am sad for the loss to our party, to their communities and to the politics of our country. I know they will make a contribution to rebuilding our strength.
“We can proud of many of our achievements in government. We brought stability, unity and decency in tough economic times.
“Getting the economy back on track and doing it fairly, the biggest tax cuts ever for workers, the green investment bank, big childcare expansion, big pension increases, ending child detention at Dungavel, a multibillion-pound international budget guaranteed and more powers for the Scottish Parliament are just the start of a long list of achievements.
“We have an ongoing duty to the people who voted for us to promote liberal values.
“That duty is even important in the face of a Conservative majority at Westminster, already planning to bring back the ‘Snoopers Charter’ that we blocked in government.
“And in the Scottish Parliament the job goes on with the centralising and often illiberal agenda being pursued by the SNP.
“We will heed the lessons and message of the election result.
“It has been a body blow to our party but that over 2,000 new members have joined the party in just one day gives me great hope.
“Thank you for your tireless support throughout this and every campaign. That we came so close to victory in many seats is a testament to your campaigning efforts.
“Our vision for Scotland is hopeful for the future, founded on opportunity and liberty for all. It is a positive prospectus.
“A year from now we have an opportunity to grow. The Scottish Parliamentary Election campaign starts today.”