Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP for Edinburgh Western, one of only four Liberal Democrat MSPs in The Scottish Parliament, has announced he will be running for leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

In a video released on social media on Tuesday night he said that the SNP have “not moved the needle on child poverty at all” despite the fact that they have been in government for 14 years.

He said that the Liberal Democrats is all about fixing politics from the ground up, that the party is passionate about climate change and that the measure of the country is “how we educate our young people and care for our older citizens”.

Currently Cole Hamilton is the party’s spokesperson on health and last week he demanded that the government sets out an urgent recovery plan for the NHS.

Willie Rennie is to stand down as leader after a run of ten years during which he staged some of the more colourful election campaign photo calls, but the number of elected politicians at Holyrood has decreased. He said: “It is time for a fresh face to lead our party forward. The new Leader will have my full support in writing the next bright chapter of the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ story.”

The party currently has four MPs, four MSPs, and 51 councillors. Nominations for the new leader opened on 20 July and will close on 20 August. Any nominee requires 10% support from the Scottish Parliamentary party and the support of 30 ordinary members from more than five local parties. The interim leader following Rennie’s resignation is Alistair Carmichael MP.

Alex Cole Hamilton MSP for Edinburgh Western making his victory speech at Ingliston May 2021 PHOTO ©2021 The Edinburgh Reporter