Labour and Conservative politicians at Holyrood could be poised to quit their parties in the wake of the creation of the new Independent Group of MPs, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has claimed.
Mr Rennie hailed the establishment of the new grouping at Westminster, made up of disenchanted former members from Theresa May’s and Jeremy Corbyn’s parties, as a “huge paradigm shift” in UK politics.
He said there were MSPs in both parties at Holyrood who were “incredibly frustrated” on issues such as Brexit and could follow suit.
"Labour and the Conservative Parties are no longer broad churches but narrow sects." – @willie_rennie reaches out to disaffected members in other parties; "come and talk with me. Let’s work together." #sldconf
— Scottish Lib Dems (@scotlibdems) February 23, 2019
Mr Rennie, speaking to journalists at the Scottish Liberal Democrat conference in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, insisted he would not name the individuals he had been talking to, and nor would he say how many there are.
However, he stated: “They’ve seen their colleagues leaving down south, people who are like-minded leaving down south, and I would encourage them to make the same step up here.”
Mr Rennie said: “I talk to lots of people on either side and I know they are incredibly frustrated by the direction of travel for their parties, and the way that they have personally been treated in some cases as well.
“Whether it is enough, time will tell. But once the dam breaks in Scotland there is potential for them to come. I’m keen to encourage that to happen.”