Nominations open in Lib Dem leadership race
Nominations have opened in the Scottish Lib Dem leadership contest, but it could still be weeks before a permanent replacement for outgoing party chief Willie Rennie is in place.
Anyone considering throwing their hat into the ring has until Friday 20th August. They need the support of 30 ordinary members from more than and five local parties, and “10 per cent of the Scottish Parliamentary party”.
If there’s more than one nomination there will then be a contest. For the duration of the leadership election, the MP Alistair Carmichael will serve as interim leader.
Incumbent, Willie Rennie announced that he was standing down after fighting “11 elections and referendums over 10 years and a global pandemic”.
He said it was "time for a fresh face to lead our party forward" but he would continue as MSP for North East Fife after holding his seat in the recent Holyrood election.
Alex Cole-Hamilton is the front-runner to replace him.
Party convenor Sheila Ritchie said: “Willie Rennie has been a fantastic leader for the past ten years. I know all of our members will join with me in thanking him for his hard work, dedication, and patience.
“We now move onto a new and exciting stage for the Party, the election of a new leader.
“Nominations will open on Tuesday 20th July, and close on Friday 20th August.”
Rennie took over the leadership following the party's disastrous result at the 2011 Holyrood election when they lost 11 of their 16 seats. The Lib Dems have struggled to recover since.
Announcing his decision to quit, Rennie said: "Over the last decade there have been both gains and losses along the way, but I have enjoyed every effort. I love a good campaign.
“But it is time for a fresh face to lead our party forward. The new Leader will have my full support in writing the next bright chapter of the Scottish Liberal Democrats' story."