Page last updated at 20:25 GMT, Tuesday, 26 August 2008 21:25 UK

Scott elected new Lib Dem leader

Tavish Scott, 42, won 59% share of the vote
Tavish Scott, 42, won a 59% share of the vote

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have elected Tavish Scott as their new leader north of the border.

He secured 1,450 votes, representing a 59% share of the turnout. Ross Finnie polled 568 votes (21.3%), and Mike Rumbles won 439 votes (17.9%).

Mr Scott, 42, succeeds Nicol Stephen, who stepped down earlier this year to spend more time with his family.

The former transport minister and Shetland MSP was tipped to win, but not by such a big margin.

The three candidates took part in a series of political hustings during the summer.

Some 61% of Scottish party members voted by post to choose the new leader. The ballot papers were counted on Tuesday and the outcome declared a few hours later.

Speaking after the results were declared at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Mr Scott said: "Thank you for this, the gold medal in the Lib Dem Olympics.

"I'm with Chris Hoy. I'm comfortable and confident in being part of a federal political party. Team Lib Dem - Scottish MPs, MSPs, MEPs and councillors across the country working together to build a stronger party, a stronger Scotland, and yes a stronger UK.

"Team Scott, as with our athletes, has only won because of the support staff. Like Chris Hoy, victory would not have been achieved without them."

LEADERSHIP RESULT
Tavish Scott - 1,450 (59%)
Ross Finnie - 568 (21.3%)
Mike Rumbles - 439 (17.9%)

Member turnout - 61%

The new Scottish Lib Dem leader said he was determined to make his party a "dominant presence on the political landscape".

Mr Scott predicted that by 2010 the SNP government in Scotland would not look as confident and sure-footed as it does now.

He said they would be seen as "arrogant, misguided, and politically dishonest".

SNP leader Alex Salmond and Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown shared many similarities, Mr Scott said.

"Same tactics, same flaws, same admiration of Margaret Thatcher," he told Lib Dem party members.

He said his election was a "mandate for change".

"Change that locks in Liberal values. That's why we'll continue to make the case for protecting our environment, improving our public services and taking back our civil liberties."

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Tavish Scott becomes the new Scottish Liberal Democrat leader.




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