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Alex Cole-Hamilton confirms Lib Dem leadership bid

Alex Cole-Hamilton, widely tipped as next leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats
Alex Cole-Hamilton, widely tipped as next leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats

The MSP tipped to take over from Willie Rennie has announced his intention to stand as party leader.

Alex Cole-Hamilton, who represents Edinburgh West, is widely tipped to replace Mr Rennie, who announced his resignation earlier this month.

The party was pegged back in the Holyrood election to just four MSPs – their worst result at the Scottish Parliament.

They lost their north-east seat and could not built on momentum to cause an upset in regions such as the Highlands and Islands.

Mr Rennie and Mr Cole-Hamilton both did well with solid wins in their constituencies, however. The party also held on to Orkney and Shetland.

Mr Cole-Hamilton confirmed his plan in a short video posted on social media.

He said it was time to put “postive reasons” forward for people to back his party.

“That’s why I’m putting my name forward as a candidate,” he said.

Mr Rennie confirmed he was standing down in a video message filmed on a hillside two months after the election.

He said: “Scotland deserves a strong progressive alternative to the twin nationalisms represented by the SNP and Conservatives.

“They polarise and divide Scotland when we should unite to overcome the enormous challenges we face, from Covid-19 to climate change to the inequalities that continue to stain our society.

“Over the last decade there have been both gains and losses along the way, but I have enjoyed every effort. I love a good campaign.

“But it is time for a fresh face to lead our party forward.  The new Leader will have my full support in writing the next bright chapter of the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ story.”

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