Page last updated at 15:37 GMT, Tuesday, 26 August 2008 16:37 UK

A man 'not afraid of the truth'

Tavish Scott - Viking festival
Tavish Scott at the annual Lerwick fire festival

When Tavish Scott announced his candidacy for the leadership of the Scottish Liberal Democrats he said he was "not afraid to tell the truth".

In his opening pitch for the post, the 42-year-old spoke passionately about his "experience to deliver change" and his hunger for the challenge.

The MSP for Shetland has a solid political background which began in 1989 when he worked as a researcher to Jim Wallace in the House of Commons.

Following a brief stint as a Lib Dem party press officer he returned to Shetland to run his family's farm.

As well as carrying out full-time duties working the land, he became a local councillor representing Lerwick Harbour and Bressay Ward on Shetland Islands Council.

Further progress was made up the political ladder when the Napier University graduate was elected to the new Holyrood parliament in 1999.

In 2003, Mr Scott was part of the team which negotiated the details of the Lib Dem coalition with Labour in the Scottish Executive.

Later that year he agreed not to campaign for the abolition of the Common Fisheries Policy, an agreement about which he had previously voiced concerns.

Election campaign

By the summer of 2005, the father-of-three was being widely acknowledged as one of the parliament's young and confident performers.

So, eyebrows were raised when he decided not to compete for his party's leadership after the post became vacant following the resignation of political veteran Jim Wallace.

Instead, he masterminded Nicol Stephen's successful campaign and was rewarded with a promotion to the post of transport minister from the deputy finance brief.

Tavish Scott becomes leader
Tavish Scott is applauded after being declared leader

Mr Scott took key roles in the Scottish Liberal Democrats' 2007 election campaign while championing the concerns of the people of Shetland.

Indeed, he takes every opportunity to credit the place of his birth. He said Shetland and its people taught him "first hand what community means".

"This is a strong community where people know each other, trust each other and help each other," said Mr Scott.

The contest to become leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats stretched through the summer of 2008.

It featured three contenders, Mr Scott, Ross Finnie and Mike Rumbles.

Via a series of hustings to party members, news conference calls and press releases, Mr Scott managed to win with a comfortable 59% of the vote.

At the start of the contest his message was clear - if he became leader he would create a party which would tackle the issues and provide the solutions.

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