Page last updated at 14:57 GMT, Friday, 10 October 2008 15:57 UK

Lib Dems 'in by-election running'

Candidate Harry Wills, Willie Rennie and leader Tavish Scott pose with a golden eagle
The Lib Dems have insisted they will be Glenrothes by-election contenders

The Liberal Democrats have insisted they will be contenders at the forthcoming Glenrothes by-election.

Candidate Harry Wills and leader Tavish Scott posed with a Golden eagle as they launched the party's campaign for the vacant Westminster seat.

The Lib Dems insisted it would not be a two-horse race between Labour's Lindsay Roy, defending a 10,000 majority, and the SNP's Peter Grant.

Mr Wills said: "We're seeing a distinct move for something that's positive."

The 61-year-old added: "When we mention tax cuts, transport improvements and action on anti-social behaviour that's taking a bigger trick than independence or the bungling Labour Party's doubling of the 10p tax band."

We can show with a degree of credibility that we can be a credible party for the people of Fife
Tavish Scott
Liberal Democrat leader
Mr Scott recently called for the Scottish Government to use its powers at Holyrood to cut income tax by two pence. The party will also push for cheaper rail fares in Fife during the campaign, claiming they are among the highest in the country.

"The 2p tax cut equates to 300 in every Scot's pocket and in Fife about 115,000 people will benefit through this," said Mr Wills, a local businessman.

"In these difficult times tax cuts are a way forward to alleviate some of the problems people face."

The Lib Dems already have 25 parliamentary and council seats in the region, including Willie Rennie who overturned an 11,000 Labour majority two years ago to win the nearby Dunfermline and West Fife seat.

"We've proved here we can buck all the trends that national politics throws at us," Mr Scott said at the launch.

'Good candidate'

He said: "No-one picked us to win Dunfermline - no-one was saying we would win with two days to go in Dunfermline and we did.

"We can show with a degree of credibility that we can be a credible party for the people of Fife."

He also joked that the expected visit from Gordon Brown to the seat, breaking with previous protocols that prime ministers do not campaign at by-elections, would help the Lib Dems "enormously".

Mr Scott added: "The day of reckoning on who was responsible for the current credit crisis across Britain will come and the people of Fife know Gordon's responsibilities there."

Mr Rennie was also present at Friday's launch and insisted the contest was open.

"We never knew what was happening in Dunfermline until the last few days so we shouldn't start predicting what's going to happen in Glenrothes three or four weeks out," he said.

"I think we've got a chance of winning. All the elements are there. We've got a good candidate and there's every chance we will do so."

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