Willie Rennie says Nicola Sturgeon is ‘desperate for the UK to fail’

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is “desperate for the UK to fail” so she can push again for Scottish independence, Willie Rennie has claimed.

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader accused Ms Sturgeon of splitting the remain parties in Scotland after introducing the Referendums Bill at Holyrood on Wednesday.

Mr Rennie said the parties in support of keeping the UK in the EU are “on the edge of victory”.

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“She’s at it again, she is desperate for the UK to fail so she can push independence once again, she has even named a date,” said Mr Rennie.

“But the momentum is with remain – Speaker John Bercow will block a no-deal Brexit, the Chancellor will bring down any no-deal prime minister, Boris Johnson is in court for telling lies.

“For goodness sake, even Richard Leonard is backing a People’s Vote. What more does she need?

“Be positive. Come with me, fight to win a People’s Vote or once again will she pursue independence, no matter what happens?”

The First Minister responded by telling Mr Rennie she would not want to follow the Liberal Democrats based on the votes they received at the European elections.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I’m not sure I want to follow him from the 38% of the vote that we got in the European elections to the, what, 12%, that the Liberal Democrats scored, which I have to say is an improvement, so well done to them for that.

“(Lib Dem MSP) Alex Cole-Hamilton is pointing out it was 14% – I still don’t want to end up there, if you don’t mind.”

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Ms Sturgeon continued: “On this issue, I think Willie Rennie frankly is being a bit complacent about the risk of a no-deal Brexit.

“I hope fervently there is not a no-deal Brexit, but given the direction of the Conservative Party, I don’t think we can afford to be complacent about that at all.

“So we will continue to argue for a People’s Vote, we will continue to argue for the revocation of Article 50 as an alternative to a no-deal Brexit.

“We will work with whoever across the political spectrum to bring that about.

“But if we don’t succeed on that – and I hope we do succeed – if we don’t succeed, I am not prepared to allow Scotland to sink with this ship, I want Scotland to have an alternative.

“I want Scotland to have a better future, a future as an independent European country.”