Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has said that Liberal stalwart William Gladstone would be spinning in his grave over former nationalist First Minister Alex Salmond’s claims that he is now arguing for “home rule” for Scotland.
In an interview published in the Press and Journal and Courier newspapers today, the former SNP leader described home rule as being the full devolution of all domestic matters and taxations, with just foreign affairs and defence reserved to Westminster.
Mr Rennie said:
“Gladstone would be spinning in his grave over the former First Minister’s attempt to twist the centuries old principle of home rule to suit his own narrow nationalist agenda. He would be appalled at the scene of a nationalist leader misusing Liberal home rule as a battering ram for independence.
“Alex Salmond is sleekit. He used to say that home rule was independence now he’s inaccurately redefining it again to promote an ultra-extreme form of devolution that would inevitably lead to the break-up of the United Kingdom. He just can’t accept that he lost the argument and lost the referendum.
“His party leader signed up to the Smith Commission agreement yet now he undermines it. Scots can only draw from this that every move Mr Salmond makes is designed to deliver his independence cause through the back door. He wants to win every seat in Scotland as a battering ram for independence.
“People in Scotland voted conscientiously and proudly to remain part of the UK in order to secure pensions and bolster our clout on the world stage, pooling and sharing resources whilst shaping our own domestic agenda. Alex Salmond’s reckless plans put that at risk. As a liberal, I am hugely proud to have a role in delivering the home rule we campaigned for decades to come to Scotland. We need to stop Alex Salmond undermining what Scotland democratically agreed just a few months ago.”