Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has issued a direct appeal to supporters of other parties to back him in Thursday’s Holyrood election, to “build bridges to rebuild Scotland”.
Throughout the election campaign Mr Rennie has argued politicians should be focused on the country’s coronavirus recovery – not the constitution.
And he made a direct appeal to those who had voted for other parties in the past to give him their support this time round.
Speaking on a campaign visit to Edinburgh Zoo, Mr Rennie said: “The pandemic has torn through our lives. We owe it to every family who has lost someone and every child who has missed out on education to try to bring the country back together and focus on the recovery.”
He added: “Over the course of this campaign I have been disappointed by how little the other parties seem prepared to reach out to those who don’t already agree with them.
“I want to extend a hand to people who have voted SNP in the past but recognise now is not the moment for a referendum.
“I want to extend a hand to people who have voted Conservative who are disappointed to see Ruth Davidson replaced by the dark and divisive Douglas Ross.
“And I want to extend a hand to the majority of Green supporters who recognise that the climate emergency is more important than a few more votes for independence.
“I want to build bridges to rebuild Scotland. If voters elect Liberal Democrat MSPs on Thursday we can make sure that the next five years are focused on recovery, not division.”
After feeding the zoo’s penguins, Mr Rennie told the PA news agency: “Who doesn’t love a penguin?
“It’s the last week of the campaign, we like to have fun and today we’re focusing on building bridges across the political divide.”
He added: “Every single vote in this election campaign counts.
“Whatever corner of the country you’re in a Liberal Democrat vote will be to recover faster and it will make a difference between Parliament being dominated by independence or dominated by recovery.
“That’s exactly what it should be because we need to create jobs and opportunities, we need to deal with the NHS, cut mental health waits, we need to get bounce-back support for education – those should be the priorities for the parliament, not more division with independence.”
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