MARK Smith wonders why people have difficulty with the new Liberal Democrat leader ("Why do people have a problem with Jo Swinson?", The Herald, September 27). Speaking for myself, I can offer three reasons.

She acted as Women's Minister in the Coalition Government with the Conservatives. Still today she faces questions over allegations that she failed to act effectively about alleged sexual harassment of women by the former Chief Executive of the Lib Dems, Lord Rennard. Prior to the General Election in 2010, the LibDems signed pledges not to support an increase in university fees. Subsequently the majority of LibDem MPs , including Ms Swinson, voted through the increase in coalition with the Conservatives. The LibDems, with Jo Swinson at the forefront, now support the revocation of Article 50 without a public vote. One wonders about how liberal and democrat that move is, given the many millions in the majority who voted to come out of the EU in the 2016 Referendum.

Those three reasons are enough, at least for me, to refrain from giving her the benefit of having my support and vote.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.

JO Swinson, as reported by Mark Smith today, contrasts the political disputes of the present day with the consensual approach she recalls from the 1990s. This seems to me too rosy a view of the Constitutional Convention. As it was set up to promote devolution, the Conservatives could hardly be expected to join it. As its terms of reference excluded any consideration of independence, the SNP could hardly be expected to join (though it was not going to turn down devolution). The method of appointment of its members gave Labour an automatic majority. The resulting consensus was largely between it and the Liberal Democrats.

Kenneth Fraser, St Andrews.

NICOLA Sturgeon leads a minority government, that is the will of the Scottish people. To suggest the will of the people is for a further referendum is contradictory to the election result.

She has criticised the Prime Minister for ignoring the law yet she is prepared to ignore the position of the Electoral Commission, a body enshrined in law to ensure fair ballots, including referendums ("Sturgeon rules out independent test of her question for Indyref2", The Herald September 27). Her political expediency is no different from Boris Johnson and she should be aware that her Government will be equally open to legal challenge over a referendum if she rides roughshod over the Electoral Commission.

Bill Eadie, Giffnock.

CONSTITUTION Secretary, Michael Russell is being heavily criticised for his insistence in sticking with a Yes/No answer to a future independence referendum question.

I fail to see what the problem is as an answer to the simple question “Should Scotland remain in the UK?”

GM Lindsay, Kinross.

JILL Stephenson (Letters, September 27) should know that all civil servants work to implement the policies of the government of the day and that the SNP has a parliamentary mandate to hold another referendum on Scotland’s future.

The most blatant example of the politicisation of civil servants was the unprecedented TV appearance of Sir Nicholas Macpherson, the head of the UK Treasury, alongside UK politicians warning against a currency union during the independence referendum in 2014.

After retiring, Sir Nicholas stated that in such an “extreme” case as the independence referendum, the normal rules of civil service impartiality simply do not apply. So, as we suspected at the time, the whole British Establishment was working against Scottish self-determination.

The recent BBC Scotland Yes/No independence programmes reminded us of how the No side broke normal purdah rules by introducing Gordon Brown's last minute "Vow" and how the BBC was complicit in breaking Stock Exchange rules over the RBS jobs announcement.

Fraser Grant, Edinburgh EH9.

JILL Stephenson advises us this morning that, following publication of Scottish Government memoranda concerning another independence referendum, that she resents “paying for employees in the public service to work to try to break up the UK”.

Personally, I feel exactly the same way she does concerning the Westminster Government’s use of the UK Civil Service to renew Trident but in particular to support it during the endlessly unfolding disaster that Brexit has become, including attempts by the Conservative Party to “stymie” Parliament and decry the judiciary. Less the merger of “party and state”, and more a takeover of state by the party.

Of course, my own personal discomfort would be resolved by my country reclaiming its independence and thus no longer having to participate in such delusional endeavours.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.

YOUR Letters Pages have had many references in recent weeks to the Constitution of the United Kingdom, and to democracy.

There is no Constitution as such – it exists as a compilation, one of which is the rule of law, and on that the Supreme Court has made a judgement, whether the Prime Minister and his supporters likes it or not.

As for being a democracy, we do not get to select those that stand as candidates, and until we as constituents do get to choose who is allowed to stand as a parliamentary candidate, we will never be a democracy.

How can anyone look forward to another General Election, when the prime candidates are Boris Johnson (selected as leader of his party by 170,000 people) and Jeremy Corbyn (selected as leader of his party by 450,000 members)? I know that I was never consulted on their suitability to sit in Parliament, let alone be leader of the country.

Yes we could all pay to have an affiliation to one party or other, but why should it come down to money?

Francis Deigman, Erskine.

Read more: Why on earth do so many people have a problem with Jo Swinson?