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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 June, 2005, 11:56 GMT 12:56 UK
Rumbles sets out Lib Dem vision
Mike Rumbles
Mike Rumbles: Power to the people
Mike Rumbles has launched his manifesto for the leadership of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

The MSP for Aberdeenshire says rank and file members should have more say on the formulation of policy.

He wants tough conditions for any future coalition with Labour including replacement of the council tax and full tax powers for Holyrood.

He also wants to see student endowment payments axed and increases in payments for free personal care.

The front runner in the contest, Nicol Stephen, is due to launch his manifesto on Friday.

He was the first to declare an interest in replacing Jim Wallace, who has been leader in Scotland for 13 years.

My sense, after talking to members, is that there is all to play for in this contest
Mike Rumbles MSP
Lib Dem leadership contender

Mr Wallace, 50, plans to stand down officially as leader at the end of June.

Mr Rumbles, who is standing against the transport minister for the top job on a one member one vote basis, vowed he would be a "new type of leader" who would take the party in a different direction to Mr Stephen.

"We have a different strategy and a different perspective," he said.

Despite Mr Stephen having the majority backing of Lib Dem MSPs for his campaign, Mr Rumbles, 48, is upbeat.

"My sense, after talking to members, is that there is all to play for in this contest," he declared.

"I want to involve the membership much more in the decision-making process of the party, so I will be bringing forward ideas to put before the party conference before the election," said Mr Rumbles.

Nicol Stephen
Nicol Stephen is the current favourite to take over from Jim Wallace

"In my view it is not sufficient to go on as we have before, saying we rule nothing in and nothing out. I don't think that appeals to new voters."

Mr Rumbles, who will not take up a departmental ministerial portfolio if he becomes leader, pledged to work with "any political party" that wanted to bring in the key Lib Dem policies.

He stressed that the aim should be to overtake Labour in the 2007 Holyrood election.

"Labour is the establishment party of Scotland. We must become the rallying point for those voters who want to see a new Scotland, a more liberal nation and a more progressive society," the leadership hopeful said.

The final day for returning ballot papers is Thursday, 23 June.


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