In advance of the General Election on Thursday 12th December, we look at each of the main political parties and why they want your vote. In this article, we look at the Scottish Liberal Democrats:
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The Lib Dems, led by Jo Swinson, have driven one central theme across this election – that is to stop Brexit and revoke Article 50.
Jo started the campaign keen to demonstrate her suitability for the role of Prime Minister, but with polling in Scotland pegging the party in 4th place at 11%, there’s an uphill struggle ahead to win a majority of seats across the UK.
However with a clear ‘Stop Brexit, Stop Independence’ message, will the Lib Dems split the unionist remain vote, attracting remain votes from Labour and No votes from the Tories?
This election is dealing with so-called ‘reserved’ matters – items which only Westminster has a say over, not the devolved administrations in Edinburgh, Cardiff or Belfast. This includes foreign policy, defence, benefits & social security, the constitution, trade and industry and immigration among other themes.
The NHS, education, local government, law and order, planning, housing, social care and the environment are examples of issues which are devolved to Scotland and therefore not likely to change immediately as a result of this Westminster election. The impacts of Brexit and independence will, however, have a significant impact on all aspects of life here and that’s why they feature so heavily in media reports.
The party are also against another Scottish independence referendum and will oppose independence for Scotland.
On policy, the Lib Dems manifesto outlines a significant programme of progressive change for the UK as a whole, including reform of the election system by giving votes to those aged 16, to all British citizens abroad and to EU citizens who live in the UK. They’ll introduce a written constitution for the first time and bring in a proportional representation system for MP elections. They will reform the House of Lords and legislate for all-BAME and all-LGBT shortlists in elections.
The would establish UK and local citizens assemblies around the country to find solutions to the challenges the country faces.
They would build on the devolved powers of Holyrood by making the BBC and Ofgem accountable to the Scottish Parliament.
On LGBT+ matters, the Lib Dems would:
- Reform the asylum system to ensure LGBT+ people fleeing persecution don’t have to ‘prove’ their identity
- Extend the Equality Act to all large companies with employees over 250.
- Develop a strategy to promote the decriminalisation of homosexuality abroad.
- Ensure accurate population data by introducing LGBT questions in the Census.
- Fund mental health services for LGBT+ people.
- Require the NHS to provide a fair proportion of funding for LGBT health research and the needs of LGBT people.
- Introduce LGBT inclusive education in all state schools.
- Review the gay blood ban.
- Offer PrEP on the NHS in England
The LGBT wing of the Liberal Democrat Party were invited to provide a short statement but no response was received.
At the time of publication, 33 of 59 candidates had signed the Equality Network’s LGBTI Pledge.
Pink Saltire are profiling the 5 main Scottish political parties in the General Election. Check our website for coverage of the SNP, Conservative, Green and Labour commitments.