• STV
  • MySTV

Nick Clegg insists the Lib Dems will play a 'key' role in referendum debate

Party leader spoke out on first visit to Scotland since Better Together campaign launch.

Nick Clegg at Mainetti factory with Michael Mooore and Willie Rennie
SWNS

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has insisted his party will play a key role in the argument over Scottish independence despite a slump in support at the polls.

The Liberal Democrat leader said the party's advocacy of further devolution, while remaining a part of the United Kingdom, was in tune with the views of many Scots.

Mr Clegg, speaking during his first visit to Scotland since the launch of the unionist parties' Better Together campaign, said: "The Liberal Democrats will play a very big role.

"We have got some extremely well-known, well-recognised national figures including Charles Kennedy, Willie Rennie and Michael Moore.

"We are leading advocates of further devolution but we also believe in the value of the family of nations in the United Kingdom standing together, so we can do things together that we cannot do on our own."

Mr Clegg's comments came as he toured manufacturer and recycler Mainetti UK in the Borders town of Jedburgh.

The Liberal Democrats have seen their support in Scotland crash since forming a coalition government with the Conservatives at Westminster, including the loss of 80 seats at the recent Scottish local elections.

Mr Clegg said: "I think whatever our short-term ups and downs, I actually think that when it comes to the referendum vote — which is nothing about which party you like most — but is an argument about the future of a country and the nation as a whole, I actually think many Scottish people will be interested to know what a quintessentially Scottish party like the Liberal Democrats has to say."

Mr Clegg said Scottish Secretary Michael Moore was "ready and willing" to discuss arrangements for the referendum with First Minister Alex Salmond, with key decisions to be made over the next few months.

"The Scottish Government has its own timetable. We've made it very clear that there are things that need to be decided in the coming months," he said.

"We've all made it clear that we shouldn't play cat and mouse with the Scottish people and muddy the waters and confuse things by having a great long list of multiple-choice questions.

"There has been an independent panel which has come up with its own version of a single question.

"The grinding uncertainty of when the referendum will be held is not good for the Scottish economy, and that is why we would like this to be held sooner rather than later.

"I think one way or another we are going to see things come to a head in the coming months."

SNP MSP Chic Brodie, who used to be a Liberal Democrat party member, said Mr Clegg is "completely out of touch" with the constitutional debate in Scotland.

"He is in urgent need of a reality check if he thinks the Lib Dems are of the slightest relevance in this," Mr Brodie said.

"Just as they have in the coalition, the Lib Dems have allowed themselves to become passengers in the Tory-led anti-independence campaign.

"All their talk of more powers for the Scottish Parliament has been abandoned to please their Tory masters — just like their promises on tuition fees, VAT and much, much more."

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.