Lib Dems will overtake SNP at general election, says Scottish leader

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton -Credit:Getty

The Liberal Democrats will overtake the SNP at the general election, the party's Scottish leader has said.

Alex Cole-Hamilton said "there will be more Liberals in the next parliament than nationalists". He added that his party would "turn a lot of the Scottish map Lib Dem gold" at the general election.

The SNP overtook the Lib Dems as the third biggest party in the House of Commons in 2015 when it won 56 seats. This was an increase in 50 from the 2010 general election.

The Lib Dems had been in the coalition government with the Conservatives since 2010 but were punished by voters, losing 49 of their 57 seats. This also meant the SNP gained a weekly slot at Prime Minister's Questions. The fourth biggest party only gets an opportunity to quiz the PM every six weeks.

The Lib Dems currently hold four Scottish Westminster seats and 15 UK-wide. The SNP has 43.

Cole-Hamilton told BBC Scotland's The Sunday Show: "We are going to make huge advances at the UK general election... And we've got our grappling hooks in the acid yellow wall of the SNP as well, from Cupar to Cape Wrath to Mallaig, you will see the Lib Dems.

"Absolutely, we're going to turn a lot of the Scottish map Lib Dem gold at the next general election."

He said this was coming from "opinion polling, local election results, and the abject decline of the SNP."

He continued: "I'm going to make you a prediction here. You can take it to the bank.

"Across the United Kingdom we are going to overtake the SNP and reclaim our place at the front of the House of Commons.

"There will be more Liberals in the next parliament to come than there will be Nationalists.

"We're very excited about that election and we hope it happens soon."

The MSP for Edinburgh Western also said the Scottish Lib Dems would work with new SNP First Minister John Swinney's minority government but has "no truck with any further constitutional division."

The SNP is now two MSPs short of a majority and has fallen out with the Greens, meaning the Lib Dems are in an influential position.

Cole-Hamilton said: "If we're not going to have [a Holyrood] election, we're not going to be childish about the next two years.

"We believe in getting things done. We didn't get into politics just to carp from the sidelines.

"So we will meet John Swinney on those issues of importance to our constituents and of importance to our liberal values.

"There will always be red lines in the discussions we have."

He continued: "We have no truck with any further constitutional division. I don't think the public wants that either."

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