The leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats has said his party is campaigning to put Jo Swinson in Downing Street.

Speaking as his party launched its campaign for the December 12 poll, Willie Rennie said the priorities are to stop Brexit as well as Scottish independence.

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson has repeatedly said she is running to become prime minister on December 12 – something Mr Rennie supports.

For Ms Swinson to become leader of the country, the Liberal Democrats would need to increase the number of seats they hold from 19 to 326.

Pointing to recent success at the ballot box for his party, Mr Rennie said: “It’s up to the people and we should never assume what the people are going to do.

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“The people have done some extraordinary things in recent years, there have been some massive swings.

“We beat Labour and the Conservatives in the European elections in May, we’ve won by-elections across the country, we’ve had a million people on the streets campaigning to stay in the European Union.

“There is a huge upswing in people wanting to stop Brexit, and I would never rule that out.

“We’re not going to support Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn because they’re not fit to run the country.

“Jo Swinson is a breath of fresh air, she’s got clarity, she’s got ambition, she’s got aspiration.

“I think she’s exactly the person the country needs.

“That’s what I’m aiming for in this campaign.

“There will be a mammoth campaign from the Liberal Democrats and we will be – very confidently – putting Jo Swinson forward to be the next prime minister.”

Mr Rennie would not be drawn on what role the Liberal Democrats could play if Labour or the Tories become the largest party, but fail to gain a majority in the Commons.

He said: “The most important thing is to tell folk what the platform is and let the people decide.

“We’re going out there with a very positive campaign, trying to stop Brexit and stop independence.

Willie RennieMr Rennie was speaking as the general election campaign was launched at his party’s Edinburgh headquarters (Craig Paton/PA)

“If people want that, they vote for us, if they don’t then we deal with that.”

Mr Rennie pointed to Ms Swinson’s experience as a UK Government minister in the coalition with the Tories, as well as her experience in losing and regaining her East Renfrewshire seat.

He added that the leader is “tenacious, she’s young, she’s vibrant”.

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Mr Rennie said the driving issues for the party in the run-up to the election will be about stopping Brexit and a second independence referendum.

He added the public would like to move on to other issues, such as the NHS, but Brexit remains an overriding “shadow”.

He said: “We’ve got massive challenges here, right across the country we’ve got problems with the NHS, not being able to build the sick kids hospital, the massive waiting times, the social care crisis and mental health services, which are wholly inadequate.

“People want to get on to those things, but as long as the shadow of Brexit hangs over us, that’s impossible.”