Tim Farron, leader of the UK Liberal Democrats, campaigned in St Andrews today in support of the Liberal Democrat’s candidate for North East Fife in the general election next month, Elizabeth Riches.
Arriving with Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and North East Fife MSP, Willie Rennie, Mr Farron left his party’s campaign bus to meet Ms Riches and Lord Campbell, former MP and Lib Dem Leader, and Chancellor of the University of St Andrews.
Mr Farron said to an assembled group of Liberal Democrat activists, “It’s fantastic to be here in St Andrews to be supporting Elizabeth Riches in a seat that we gained in the Scottish Parliament last May with Willie Rennie.
Continuing, Mr Farron said North East Fife was “a seat where it’s clear that if you want to support Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom and support Scotland’s place in the Single Market, being an outward looking, as we know that we are then Elizabeth Riches and the Liberal Democrats are the choice for you.”
Speaking to The Saint Mr Rennie said, “The students in St Andrews should vote for the Lib Dems because we are clearly for Scotland at the heart of the United Kingdom in the heart of Europe, and by their very nature, students tend to be outward looking, internationalist in their approach, and Lib Dems have got that down to our boots.
“So if students want that kind of optimistic approach to politics, they should back the Lib Dems, if they don’t want separation with independence, or have us wrenched out of Europe, we’re the choice for them.”
Mr Farron was also met by protestors from the St Andrews Conservative and Unionist Association, with one student, Drew Liquerman, holding a sign calling on Mr Farron and the Liberal Democrats to “support the will of the people” and abandon its support for a second referendum on any Brexit deal.
However, a Liberal Democrat activist responded by holding a sign above Mr Liquerman (who is American) reading, “Ignore him, he voted for Trump.”
Mr Farron also spoke to other members of the St Andrews Conservative Association who confronted him over his party’s policy on the EU.
After a heated discussion between Mr Farron and the student in question, Ian Donnell, Mr Farron said, “This is the country in miscrocosm, just talking at each other.”
Mr Farron then went on to defend his support of a second referendum on any Brexit deal by telling Mr Donnell, “In the end, I trust you to have a final say on the deal, I don’t trust Junker and May to put it up between closed doors.”
The Saint also spoke to several students who campaigned with Mr Farron and Ms Riches about why they were supporting the Liberal Democrats.
Third year International Relations student Mariam Mahmood said, “Students in St Andrews should vote Lib Dem to protect the rights of international students.”
Nick Farrer, also a third year, said, “I really want my anxieties about Brexit to be represented in Westminster.”
Another third year, James Green, said, “The Lib Dems are the only party standing up for people like me with mental health issues.”
James Atkinson, also a third year, said he supported the party because, “The Lib Dems are the only party forcefully supporting staying in the EU and in the UK for Scotland.”
First year medical student, India Daniels, told The Saint “I’m voting Lib Dem because I like the European view of politics that the Lib Dems and I also really agree with the way they’re trying to change the way the NHS is funded, re-emphasising the person, rather than it just being a number in a person.”
“I think it’s so important, people are people, they’re not just things that sit inside hospitals and then leave again.”