Scottish Lib Dems call for end to “chatter about the constitution”

by Stephen Tall on March 4, 2009

Lib Dem Voice reported last week that Scottish Lib Dem leader Tavish Scott had made clear his opposition to a referendum on Scottish independence:

Liberal Democrats do not support independence and we will not support a referendum that could let independence in through the backdoor.”

Today the Scottish party will go one stage further and move an amendment in the Holyrood Parliament calling for any idea of a referendum to be dumped until after the next elections in 2011. It is thought likely that Labour and the Tories will rally behind the Lib Dem amendment, which would ensure the SNP was defeated.

The BBC quotes Lib Dem chief whip Mike Rumbles:

Our amendment will put an end to speculation about independence in this parliament. MSPs can choose chatter about the constitution, or they can follow the Liberal Democrats and spend the next two years working hard to build an economic recovery.”

Despite some media speculation at the weekend that the Lib Dem group might split when it came to a vote, it seems likely that 15 of the 16 Lib Dem MSPs will back the party line, with only John Farquhar Munro sticking to his pro-referendum guns by absenting himself from the vote.