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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 January 2007, 22:23 GMT
Lib Dem leader rules out SNP deal
Nicol Stephen
Nicol Stephen rejected the idea of an independence referendum
The leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats has ruled out a pact with the SNP over a referendum on independence.

Nicol Stephen, deputy first minister in the current Scottish Executive, said such a referendum would prevent any possible coalition deal with the SNP.

His comments echoed those made by the UK Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell at the weekend.

Mr Stephen said he wanted greater powers for the Scottish Parliament in transport, energy and broadcasting.

He added that he believed the Liberal Democrats could conceivably be the largest single party at Holyrood after May's elections.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats currently have 17 of the 129 MSPs at Holyrood.

Labour, their partners in the coalition executive, have 50 MSPs and the SNP have 25.

The Scottish Conservatives have 17 MSPs.

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