Launching a manifesto for local council elections in May, Willie Rennie took aim at the First Minister and said it was time to signal a “clear no” to a second referendum.
Speaking from Inverkeithing, the MSP outlined his party’s priorities in Scotland before scolding Mrs Sturgeon.
He told the BBC: “A vote for a Liberal Democrat in this campaign is for a Liberal Democrat councillor who will work all year round for local people not just at election time, who’ll put mental health services at the top of their agenda alongside education but also putting an end to that unfair council tax.
“But the crucial thing in this election also is that we say a clear no to a second divisive independence referendum.”
Willie Rennie blasted the SNP over a second independence referendum
The crucial thing in this election also is that we say a clear no to a second divisive independence referendum
He insisted people in Scotland did not want to break away from the United Kingdom despite the First Minister repeatedly pointing out 62 per cent of Scots voted Remain.
Mr Rennie said: “People want to send a very clear message to the SNP that they’re against another divisive independence referendum but they want investment also in mental health services and education and an end to the unfair council tax.
“What they need to do is vote Liberal Democrats because we’re the only party that’s offering that unique agenda of standing up for local people, making sure services improve but also putting an end to this divisive independence referendum.
“We’re hoping to grow in this campaign, we’re very positive, we’ve got great local campaigners.”
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The Government has said it would refuse any request for another Scottish vote
The jibe follows a speech by the First Minister at the Political Studies Association’s annual conference in Glasgow.
She said: “We want to ensure that the next referendum on independence gives people the information they need to come to a considered judgement.
“A key difference was that in 2014, the Scottish government set out a detailed proposal for how Scotland would become independent.
“In 2016, on the other hand, people were asked to vote for change, without being told what that change involved.”