Willie Rennie MSP

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Meeting of the Parliament 09 October 2014 : Thursday, October 09, 2014
Willie Rennie (Mid Scotland and Fife) (LD)

I thank the finance secretary for the advance copy of his statement. I welcome the progressive nature of the taxes that he has set out and the fact that they are based on the ability to pay. That is something that we can agree with.

It was also good to hear Mr Swinney proclaim the economic progress that we have made across the United Kingdom since this coalition Government came to power and, in that spirit, I commit our party again to working with him constructively this year in order to agree this budget. We have made a mark on previous budgets with regard to, for example, free school meals, childcare and colleges, and we will be seeking to do so again this year on childcare, to ensure that Scotland catches up with the level of provision in England. We will do so on colleges in order to ensure that we take funding back to the 2011 levels that it still lags behind. We will do so on mental health, in order to ensure that it gets the priority that it deserves, and on transport for the north-east and the Highlands and Islands. Will he agree to work constructively with us and our party on those priorities in order to make a big mark on this budget?



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Willie Rennie (Mid Scotland and Fife) (LD)

The referendum was the biggest democratic experience of my life. It gave the biggest democratic endorsement of any decision ever taken in this country, and we therefore need to respect that decision and ensure that we follow up on the range of commitments that we gave on both sides during the referendum, so that the country comes together as a result.

The debates and discussions during referendums are often more instructive than the actual result. There was anger and frustration, and there was also hope and ambition, and we have to capture the massive energy that existed during the referendum to change the way that we do politics and to ensure that we change Britain in the way that people expressed a desire for.

As Johann Lamont quite rightly said, we also need to focus on the big issues that people were talking about during the referendum: fairness, economic growth and opportunity for everyone right across society. We need to meet those challenges, and that is why this is a massive opportunity for us all to come together. For the first time ever, we have all parties in this Parliament, in Scottish politics, together in the one room. That has never happened before and in itself is a massive opportunity. Bringing together the 45 and the 55 is also an opportunity to ensure that they are engaged in the discussion going forward.

I would say that this country has never been better informed about its arrangements than it is now. We are in the best place possible to make a decision about our constitutional future. After a three-year debate, people know more about their constitution than they could ever really want to know, and that gives us a great opportunity to come up with a sustainable constitutional settlement that includes wider society, as it must do.

We must also ensure that the forces of constitutional conservatism that have defeated us on House of Lords reform, the alternative vote and various other reforms are defeated. We must use the energy of the referendum to make the big changes that people want. That is why I am delighted that Mike Moore and Tavish Scott have agreed to serve on the Smith commission. Those two individuals will follow through on the commitment that we gave in the referendum to ensure that there is substantial change. Mike Moore has a good track record on working across party boundaries to deliver the change that people want in this country.

We must ensure that powers are transferred to Scotland and down into communities. People in Shetland are as suspicious of Edinburgh as they are of London, and we need to make sure that we reflect the diversity that exists within Scotland as much as the diversity that exists in the United Kingdom. That is the commitment that the Liberal Democrats will give in the process. It is a big opportunity. Let us seize it.

16:59  

Meeting of the Parliament 02 October 2014 : Thursday, October 02, 2014
3. Willie Rennie (Mid Scotland and Fife) (LD)

To ask the First Minister what issues will be discussed at the next meeting of the Cabinet. (S4F-02301)



Meeting of the Parliament 02 October 2014 : Thursday, October 02, 2014
Willie Rennie

When the First Minister goes, will he please take Kenny MacAskill with him?



Meeting of the Parliament 02 October 2014 : Thursday, October 02, 2014
Willie Rennie

Surely the First Minister has had enough of defending the Cabinet Secretary for Justice. The First Minister said that he was comfortable with the policy on stop and search of children just before it was abandoned, he rallied to Kenny MacAskill’s defence on the abolition of corroboration before that was put on hold, and he stood on the very spot that he is on now lecturing me that it was for public safety reasons that the police were armed routinely. Now that has gone, too. Meanwhile, Kenny MacAskill shrugs with casual indifference, as if justice is nothing to do with him. He is more trouble than he is worth.

Now that the referendum is over, and to save his successor the bother, will the First Minister please just take Kenny MacAskill with him?



Meeting of the Parliament 25 September 2014 : Thursday, September 25, 2014
3. Willie Rennie (Mid Scotland and Fife) (LD)

To ask the First Minister what issues will be discussed at the next meeting of the Cabinet. (S4F-02286)



Meeting of the Parliament 25 September 2014 : Thursday, September 25, 2014
Willie Rennie

Yesterday, I heard John Swinney set out his support for home rule and federalism. He joins illustrious company: Gladstone, Grimond, Gordon Brown and now—of all people—Michael Forsyth. Ming Campbell published our plans for home rule and federalism two years ago. Is the First Minister now a supporter of federalism? If so, in which bits of our plan does he think we can find common cause?



Meeting of the Parliament 25 September 2014 : Thursday, September 25, 2014
Willie Rennie

I thank the First Minister for that promise of constructive engagement, but he should remember that the plans that were put to the voters last week were set out by our three parties. I look forward to his plans coming forward as well, because we will then be able to create a Scottish Parliament with the tax powers to give us the flexibility and the agility to do things differently in Scotland and with the powers to tackle inequality, to invest for the long term and to create a stronger economy and fairer society, driving down power into the communities—which, I am sure, the First Minister is strongly in favour of—and creating a federal UK. So far, he has not commented on our proposals. Can he find common cause, comment on what we have suggested and engage in a proper, constructive discussion?



Meeting of the Parliament 23 September 2014 : Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Willie Rennie (Mid Scotland and Fife) (LD)

The First Minister and I spent only one year together in the Westminster Parliament, but even in that one short year I could see that he had tremendous political skills. I can recognise political opponents’ tremendous political skills even if I do not agree with their political beliefs; that is no more the case than with the First Minister. I am sure that we will, at a later stage, get another opportunity to wax a wee bit more lyrical about his achievements.

The referendum campaign has been the democratic experience of my lifetime. Never in my 30 years in politics have I seen anything quite like it. When was the last time that voters marched up to us in the middle of the high street and demanded a 20-page document from us so that they could read it? My window cleaner argued about the technical aspects of European Union membership and Panama’s currency arrangements. The referendum was even the hot topic among German tourists in Fort William.

However, the most inspiring aspect was that the 16-year-old voters who voted for the first time ever did so with great pride, confidence and knowledge. I agree with the First Minister that all 16 and 17-year-olds should get the vote. They have carried themselves extremely well in the referendum and have given opportunities to 16 and 17-year-olds throughout the UK. We should endorse that.

The people of Scotland deserve the widest and highest praise for rising to the occasion. They made Scotland shine last week, so we must treat that pride with care. We have a responsibility to respect the decision that has been backed up by 2 million votes, which is the highest ever endorsement for a political decision made in Scotland.

The First Minister is fond of expressing great confidence in the ability of the Scottish people, but to my great disappointment, over the weekend that confidence evaporated. The First Minister should not question the judgment of the people just because they did not agree with him. On Friday, within hours of the result, and of agreeing to participate in the process for securing more powers, the First Minister was actively seeking to undermine that with a range of bogus distractions, claims and allegations. Today he claims that he accepts the result, but his complaint-ridden statement betrays that claim. I have some hope that that will change with new leadership in the SNP.

This morning, I was pleased to meet Robert Smith to take him through my party’s proposals for a more powerful Scottish Parliament inside the United Kingdom. Members know that he has been tasked with leading the effort to reach agreement in short order. There is a tight timetable, but I am confident that agreement can be reached.

Members know that we Liberal Democrats published our proposals two years ago, under the chairmanship of Sir Ming Campbell. Our proposals reflected the desire of people in Scotland, which we believe is for change—but change within the United Kingdom.

We propose that the Scottish Parliament should raise the majority of the money that it spends—the missing powers. That would give us control of the purse strings and therefore control of our destiny, on the domestic agenda. If we wanted to do something that was different from what Westminster was doing, we could do so. If we wanted tax cuts for people on low and middle incomes, we could choose to do that. If we wanted to invest more in childcare, we could raise the extra funds to pay for that. That can be done within a federal structure, in which the big risks and rewards, in an uncertain world, can be shared across the whole United Kingdom.

We say that the whole of income tax, including the rates and bands, should be decided here. If we add inheritance tax and capital gains tax, we will give the Parliament the powers to tackle inequality and address wealth. We propose to assign the revenues from corporation tax, so that we can reap the benefits of decisions to grow the economy here. We argue for prudential borrowing powers, so that we can invest and save for the long-term future of the country.

We also think that more can be done to integrate services for people who are looking for work, if the power over the work programme resides here.

A federal settlement will give this institution permanence. Liberal Democrat plans will equip every part of the United Kingdom, first and certainly in Scotland, with nimble government. In Scotland such a Government will be able to respond effectively to issues here because it will have the financial resources and clout to do so.

It is a positive agenda, and I hope that the SNP engages positively and constructively, and not with back-door attempts to re-run the referendum and to put forward three tests—that sound exactly like the three tests that the First Minister set on independence—but with positive proposals for change, which reflect the biggest democratic endorsement that this country has ever seen.

We also need powers to be transferred not just from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament, but down into communities. It is striking to note the difference in the votes in different parts of the country; the most sceptical areas were often those that are most remote from this Parliament. We need to push power down to communities so that they can have a bigger say.

The result on Friday was clear, legal and decisive; I am sure that no one in this Parliament disputes that. Two million people decided that we are better together. As the First Minister said last week, the question of independence has been concluded for a generation—possibly for a lifetime. It has been laid to rest. Our task now is to build a better Scotland that meets the hopes and ambitions of people in Scotland—the 55 per cent as well as the 45 per cent. The people have high hopes. We have our work cut out if we are to meet them.

14:54  

Meeting of the Parliament 23 September 2014 : Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Willie Rennie

If the First Minister checks the Campbell commission report, which I am sure he has read, he will find that it says nothing of the kind. It talks about continuation of the Barnett formula. That has been confirmed by Danny Alexander and by the three UK party leaders. The Barnett formula is remaining.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-11332.2 Jenny Marra: Supported Business—As an amendment to motion S4M-11332 in the name of Fergu
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Not VotedDefeated

S4M-11332.1 Gavin Brown: Supported Business—As an amendment to motion S4M-11332 in the name of Fergu
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

S4M-11332 Fergus Ewing: Supported Business—That the Parliament recognises the economic and social va
>> Show more
Not VotedCarried

S4M-11304.3 Michael Russell: Addressing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Schools—As an amendment to mo
>> Show more
Not VotedCarried

S4M-11304 Liz Smith: Addressing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Schools—That the Parliament believes
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Not VotedCarried

S4M-11123 Joe FitzPatrick on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau: Business Motion—That the Parliament
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YesCarried

S4M-11114.2 Kenny MacAskill: Policing—As an amendment to motion S4M-11114 in the name of Graeme Pear
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NoCarried

S4M-11114 Graeme Pearson: Policing—That the Parliament acknowledges that policing in Scotland contin
>> Show more
NoCarried

S4M-11116.1.1 Patrick Harvie: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to amendment S4M-11116.1 in the name
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11116.1 Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-11116 in the name of Jo
>> Show more
NoCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Willie Rennie
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-10843.1.1: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 20/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10724.1: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 05/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10430.1: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 23/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10353.1: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 17/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10214.2: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 04/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10224: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 04/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10131.1: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 27/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09926.2: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 06/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09844.1: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 29/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09748.3: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 17/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Willie Rennie
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4F-02301: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 26/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02286: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 22/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02245: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 07/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22210: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 29/07/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22209: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 29/07/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22212: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 29/07/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22213: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 29/07/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22211: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 29/07/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02228: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 29/07/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22051: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 07/07/2014 Show Full Question >>

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