The leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie has written this morning to Ruth Davidson to ask for evidence that her comments on tax credits have had any influence over UK Conservatives.

The House of Lords votes later today on the tax credit plans. Willie Rennie has asked Ruth Davidson six questions in order to see if her comments in the weekend media have had any impact on the Conservatives who will take the decisions on tax credits.

Willie Rennie said: “Tax credit cuts will hit 250,000 families in Scotland. Those people deserve to know what steps the leader of the Scottish Conservatives has taken to halt these plans. And they will want to know if Ruth Davidson has any influence over UK Conservatives. My letter puts her on the spot. Has she managed to change the minds of any UK Conservatives?”

The full text of the letter sent this morning by Willie Rennie to Ruth Davidson is here:

“Dear Ruth 

The House of Lords is voting today on an opportunity to stop the Conservative Government’s extreme and damaging cuts to tax credits. The Conservative Government’s proposals will harm 250,000 Scottish families, with 300,000 children affected.

Time is short. You have expressed concern in the media. I am writing this morning to see if that concern has translated into any effective action. 

I think people are entitled to find out what influence you have been using to try to stop these proposals going through as they stand. There are six questions that will help people judge how far you have been prepared to go to halt the plans. It is fair for you to be put on the spot.

  • Have you contacted the Conservative members of the House of Lords from Scotland? What did you say to them and what indications have you had that any of them are willing to vote to halt the proposals today in response to your request?
  • In particular, will your Scottish Conservative MSP colleague Baroness Goldie be voting today to halt the proposals in line with your concerns?
  • Has your Scottish Conservative MP David Mundell offered any indication to you that he supports your position that current plans are “not acceptable”
  • Have you taken steps to inform the Prime Minister and Chancellor of your personal opinion on their plans? What was their response?
  • Which other UK Conservatives have you contacted to urge them to stand on the side of working families in Scotland who are about to be hit by these proposals from a Conservative Government.
  • There are only a few hours remaining until the vote. Do you plan any further initiatives to persuade Conservatives to halt the proposals?

I hope you are able to indicate and itemise the steps you have taken to try to halt these proposals. People will be watching anxiously across Scotland to see what impact your remarks have had on your colleagues. People will be disappointed if you are unable to exert influence.

Please take time today to try to win this battle for people on low pay in Scotland.

Yours sincerely 

Willie Rennie MSP”

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