William Rennie – Liberal Democrat
Scottish Liberal Democratic Party Chief of Staff in the new Scottish Parliament from 1999-2001. Press adviser to Fife Council’s Liberal Democrat opposition group and a member of the Dunfermline focus editorial team, working with Dunfermline’s councillors on local issues.
Worked for Scottish communications firm McEwan Purvis from 2001-2006, as an account director helping advise small businesses and charities such as the Royal Society of Chemistry and Asthma UK.
Won the Dunfermline and West Fife by-election on 9 February 2006. Joined the Liberal Democrat shadow defence team. Chairman of their parliamentary campaigns unit, and a member of the Commons Defence Select Committee.
2006: Raytheon Cluster Bomb used in the Lebanon
Westminster PMQ’s were full of Fibdem screamers! Lib/Dem defence spokesperson, Rennie did not want to play second fiddle to his leader, Clegg, so he decided to get in on the fibbing. He asked the Prime Minister:
“After the conflict ended, it was identified that Raytheon cluster bombs used in Lebanon by Israel resulted in 159 casualties, including 23 deaths. In Geneva last week the UK failed to support calls from the UN Secretary-General, the International Committee of the Red Cross and 27 nations for urgent action banning these weapons. In Oslo next year, will the Prime Minister push for a ban on these indiscriminate bombs, or does he agree with the Minister of Defence, who strongly advocates the continued sale and use of these bombs?”
But Rennie failed to mention his close working relationship and lengthy association with Raytheon. He was a top PR man at McEwan Purvis who had the merchants of death as their client. Evidently “Oor’ Willie” is not just a political opportunist but the worst kind of hypocrite seeing as Raytheon is a proud manufacturer of, you guessed it, Cluster bombs. And he had shares in the company!!
Dec 2006: Willie Rennie – for whom the bridge tolls
The Lib Dems finally gave up their fence sitting and pledged their support to the “scrap the tolls” campaign to abolish the toll charge to cross the Forth road bridge. Rennie said he had been reluctant to jump on the anti-tolls bandwagon because of concerns about congestion. Really?!? This wouldn’t be the same Rennie who centred his Dunfermline & West Fife by-election swindle victory on a petition against an increase in tolls, would it?!?!
And the Scottish government official in charge of tolling on the Forth, is none other than Rennie’s Party leader, property marketing guru the ravishing Tavishing Scott. So, Willie, when will you be lobbying your own party hierarchy on this one then? Rather than duping the electorate with a “petition” which always seems to rear its head at election time? http://fibdems.blogspot.co.uk/2006_12_01_archive.html
Lib/Dem petition to scrap the Forth Road Bridge toll charges sunk by the Lib/Dems
The Party carrying the blame for the continuation of tolls on the Forth Road Bridge is the Lib/Dems since the Scottish Transport Minister is the hapless Tavish Scott who said would be bad for the environment if they were scrapped. His opposition screwed up his party’s chances of taking Dunfermline West from Labour but effectively ended Rennie’s future as an MP.
Small wonder Rennie was squirming on Politics Scotland when Isobel Fraser skewered him into saying he had “faith” in Tavish after exposing the lack of “credibility” he now has on the issue of tolls. Poetic justice indeed. Elected on the issue of tolls and exposed and rejected on the issue of tolls.
July 2009: Rennie in sleaze probe
A Parliamentary probe is to be held into expense claims made by Liberal Democrat Willie Rennie MP who paid his local party £14,000 for an office rental which cost half that amount to lease. John Lyon, the parliamentary standards commissioner, has agreed to Labour Party calls for an investigation. Last month, it emerged that Rennie and MSP Jim Tolson had paid a total of £21,000 in rent to the local Lib/Dem Party who paid just £7,050 to lease the property in the Fife town. Rennie denies channelling funds to his local party and insists that the sums he and Tolson paid were justified as they included bills for telephone and electricity costs which, he said, made up the difference between the two amounts.
Rennie the loser turfed out of Westminster
Rennie unsurprisingly lost his Westminster seat to Labour in the May 2010 UK general election. Appointed Special Advisor (SPAD) to Michael Moore then Danny Alexander at the Scotland Office. Resigned from his special advisor role in June 2010.
May 2010: Former MP Willie Rennie to repay £2,000 in office administration costs
Rennie, the former Liberal Democrat MP, who lost his Dunfermline and West Fife seat at the general election has apologised after he wrongly claimed for office costs on his local office, premises shared with his local party. House of Commons authorities found that Rennie, had claimed £2,647 too much for the upkeep of the office and equipment since 2006. Political opponents said the findings were “deeply embarrassing” for the Lib Dems as they accused him of “wrongly directing public funds towards the Lib/Dem election drive.” Rennie was using a scam, usually difficult to prove but his campaign team snookered him when they canvassed Labour activists in error using a phone number paid for out of parliamentary funds that also appeared on his party letterhead.
Rennie returns to Scottish politics
Returned to front-line politics as an MSP when he won a regional list seat for the Liberal Democrats in the Scottish Parliament’s Mid-Scotland and Fife region at the Holyrood elections on 5 May 2011. Appointed Leader of the Party in Scotland unopposed, shortly after the election following the resignation of Tavish Scott, who accepted responsibility for the loss of 11 MSP’s reducing Party representation in Holyrood to 5 MSP’s.
Rennie was at the centre of controversy after an offensive cartoon was published in his name depicting Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond MSP in Arab dress with his skin apparently artificially darkened. The cartoon, which was published on Rennie’s Facebook page and through his Twitter feed, suggested an independent Scotland would share the attributes of Qatar as an absolute monarchy, the rejection of gay rights and the imposition of the death penalty. He was forced to publicly apologise for the unwarranted attack.
Private donor gives £2.5m to the Lib/Dem’s
The Lib/Dem’s accepted £2.5 million from a donor. It was later revealed later to be stolen money. If the Party leaders had any redeeming qualities they would have returned the money, but the Lib/Dem’s have no such scruples. They kept it.
March 2014: Rennie demands bedroom tax removal but his government introduced it.
Rennie called for the bedroom tax to be axed because the controversial welfare reform wasn’t working as intended. The measure was at the heart of welfare reductions imposed by the Coalition Government and Rennie steadfastly defended it. When asked if the “tax” should remain in place he told the BBC: “The principle behind the spare room subsidy I can understand, but to be honest I don’t think it is working as it was intended and I think it should just go, and it should go quickly.” Meanwhile, his Westminster colleagues continued to support the tax on the poor. Here are the names of 7 Scottish Lib/Dem MPs who voted against scrapping the bedroom tax:
Sir Alan Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed), Sir Menzies Campbell (Fife North East), Alistair Carmichael (Orkney & Shetland), Michael Moore (Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk), Sir Robert Smith (Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine), Jo Swinson (Dunbartonshire East), John Thurso (Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross.)
And the names of 3 Scottish LibDem MPs who abstained from voting against the bill:
Danny Alexander (Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey), Charles Kennedy (Ross, Skye & Lochaber), Alan Reid (Argyll & Bute.)
Apr 2015: Satellite tracking system nails Rennie’s hapless spin as a lie when he leaves it on and records speed limit contravention
Rennie led Fife cyclists in a “Pedal on Holyrood” event using a state of the art tracking application called “Strava” to log his route and time. The application, popular with runners and cyclists, uses G.P.S. technology to map a user’s position and speed. Throughout the event the 47-year-old was logged at an average of a leisurely 11mph. But after returning to Inverkeithing it appears he got into his car to drive home and forgot to switch off his G.P.S. His journey was tracked to his home near Kelty. At one point on the M90, near Hill-of-Beath he was clocked travelling at 81.2mph. A Scottish Liberal Democrat spokesman defended Rennie and said: “This is an app for measuring running and cycling, not cars travelling on motorways. Willie always tries to stick to the speed limit and does not believe he broke it on this drive, but it is always worth everyone remembering the importance of driving safely.”
Rennie laughs a lot, it is a contagious chuckle, the kind blurted by a duvet-cloaked schoolboy tearing through a Beano annual by torchlight. Contrition, though, is his main thing. An outmoded virtue, perhaps, but the leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats happily admits to some old-fashioned values. This is a man worth the watching. He strives to present as affable yet underneath it is a male chauvinist. In debates with Nicola Sturgeon he repeatedly said ‘she’ and ‘her’ as if she didn’t warrant enough respect to be called by her name.
Comment: His Party is poison. Retired leaders, “the boy wonder” Steel and Paddy “pantsdown” Ashdown, protected paedophile Cyril Smith and even got him a knighthood then refused to acknowledge child sex abuse scandals he was involved in.
Rennie is running his Party’s election campaign on double-standards. He is on record criticising English votes for English Laws (EVEL). Yet, in the UK Government paper on the issue, the Lib/Dem section quoted:
“It cannot be right that a future government could pursue policies in England in areas devolved to the Scottish Parliament using the votes of Scottish MPs, even if this was not supported in England. The so-called West Lothian question can no longer go unanswered. The Liberal Democrats believe that English MPs at Westminster should have a stronger voice and a stronger veto over purely English only issues.”
Apr 2015: Rennie appeals to Scots to vote tactically
Rennie backed the Unionist’s anti-SNP tactical voting strategy in the hope that it would shore up his Party’s dwindling support. The leader of the Scottish Lib/Dem’s said that unionist Scots were already backing the party in some seats to stop the Nationalists and he made a direct plea to other Scots who “might oppose a lot of what we say” to use “smart thinking” when they voted.
May 2015: Post election – Rennie “hopeful for the future” after SNP tsunami sweeps across Scotland.
The Lib/Dem’s lost 10 of the 11 Scottish seats they had held at Westminster. The SNP has 56 MPs, with only Alistair Carmichael, who had been the Scottish Secretary in the coalition government, managing to retain his Orkney and Shetland seat. Despite that Rennie said: “Our vision for Scotland is hopeful for the future, founded on opportunity and liberty for all.” Ever the optimist!!!
Commenting on news that Alex Salmond had been appointed foreign affairs spokesman for the SNP at Westminster. Rennie quipped : “Alex Salmond’s recent mantle of foreign affairs spokesperson for the SNP is the equivalent of putting Mr Bean in charge of the World Bank.”
Comment: The bile from Rennie knows no end. His blind hatred of Alex Salmond is well known and Scots are fed up with his constant bleating that the “Nationalists are, bad, bad, bad.” He should resign his position as did his predecessor forever tarnished and adorned with the mantle of failure.