The Scottish Liberal Democrats, who were reduced to a rump of just five MSPs at the Holyrood elections, have elected Willie Rennie as the party’s new leader in Scotland.
Rennie, the list MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife, was elected unopposed following the resignation of Tavish Scott.
Fife-born and bred, 43-year-old Rennie is the former MP for Dunfermline and West Fife, a seat he won in a by-election in 2006 and held until last year’s Westminster elections. During his time in the UK Parliament, he was the Liberal Democrats’ spokesman on defence and was a member of the Commons Defence Select Committee.
A graduate of Paisley College, Rennie is a former chief executive of the Scottish Liberal Democrats and was the party’s chief of staff at Holyrood from 1999 to 2001. He is married with two children and lives in Kelty.
In his first interviews following his elevation to the leadership, Rennie promised to stand “for Liberal values,” having previously stated his intention to oppose the “SNP bulldozer administration.”
Having been chairman of Nick Clegg’s campaigns and communications team, and with his last job in politics being special adviser to Scottish Secretary Michael Moore, Rennie is well connected to the Liberal Democrat leadership, but he clearly has a massive task to repair the Scottish public’s damaged trust in his party.