Cole-Hamilton reflects on 25th anniversary of first Scottish Parliament election

5 May 2024

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today marked 25 years since the first election to the Scottish Parliament which took place on 6th May 1999 and resulted in a Liberal Democrat-Labour coalition government.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

“I am proud of the part Scottish Liberal Democrats played in delivering a Scottish Parliament and in the successes we have delivered through it.

“In government, the Scottish Liberal Democrats delivered pioneering legislation like the abolition of upfront tuition fees, the introduction of free personal care and the smoking ban. We also legislated for the building of the Borders Railway, gave communities the right to buy land, made dental and eye tests free, introduced free bus passes, and opened up the business of government to proper scrutiny through Freedom of Information law.

“These are Lib Dem successes delivered because of devolution, and without which we would never have achieved them.

“So what do I want to see our powerful Parliament do next?

“The next great liberal reform can come with my colleague Liam McArthur’s Assisted Dying Bill, which will deliver dignity for those with terminal illness at the end of life.

“We also need a Scottish Government which will take action to boost local health services and recognise the importance of accessible, high-quality care for all, close to home.

“I also want to see more devolution within Scotland, with a power surge to councils through longer term funding deals and more powers over economic development.

“As the Scottish Parliament continues to evolve, it will need to become more accountable, transparent, and effective in addressing the needs of the Scottish people.

“With the SNP in apparent freefall and no clear sign that John Swinney will be able to turn the tide, change is coming and with it a chance to make devolution work as it should. Scottish Liberal Democrats will be part of what’s next.”

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