THE LibDems have been condemned for their “cheek” in claiming that a Scottish independence referendum is a once-in-a-generation event.

The SNP hit out after it emerged that successive LibDem candidates have stood on a platform proclaiming a once-in-a-generation opportunity for change.

On March 13, 2017, following Nicola Sturgeon's announcement of a second referendum, Tim Farron said: "The SNP are risking taking Scotland out of both the UK and out of the EU. Being outside both would be the worst of all worlds for Scotland.

The National:

"We believe that the SNP have gone back on their word that 2014 was 'once in a generation'".

He was joined by Willie Rennie, who said: "The SNP have been working towards this announcement for months. They have been determined to contrive a way to ignore their promise that 2014 was ‘once in a generation’."

On March 15, 2017, Rennie wrote for Prospect Magazine saying: "The Scottish National Party has been determined to contrive another [referendum] ever since the results of the last one were announced in 2014. It is now going back on its promise that it was a 'once in a generation” occurrence'."

The National: Willie Rennie

On May 5, 2017, the Liberal Democrat Voice published Jo Swinson's interview in which she said: "It doesn’t even make sense to have another referendum on independence. It’s only been three years since the last one which, let’s remember, was a ‘once in a generation’ event."

On July 6, 2017, Swinson said that "indyref2 should be off the table" and "should be a once-in-a-generation thing".

On September 15, 2019, The National covered Rennie's remarks that "we will still stand very firmly against another independence referendum" because "We were promised it was a ‘once in a generation’ thing".

And yet the phrase has cropped up on numerous occasion during LibDem election campaigns…

In May 2010, Nick Clegg made a final appeal to voters to seize the "once-in-a-generation chance" to bring balance to Britain's elections by voting the LibDems.  

On October 22, 2019, The National reported on the "sheer hypocrisy" of LibDem Alistair Carmichael. The former secretary of state for Scotland said that just because the 2016 vote was described as a “once-in-a-generation event” at the time shouldn’t now mean that it actually was a “once-in-a-generation event”.

He later said Clegg’s promise that the 2016 referendum was “once in a generation” was a “misjudgement” rather than a lie.

On October 24, 2019, the LibDem Volunteer With Us page said: "This will be a once-in-a-lifetime election – and you can make a difference."

On October 31, 2019, the LibDems launched their new slogan: "Stop Brexit. Build a brighter future."

The press announcement page read: "This election is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reshape our politics, and give hope to the millions of people who want a fairer, brighter future."

The National: Jo Swinson was an avid critic of Scottish independenceJo Swinson was an avid critic of Scottish independence

On November 18, 2019, the Liberal Democrat Voice published an article campaigning for people to vote for the LibDems, it read: "On election day, a-once-in-a-generation opportunity awaits the people of the United Kingdom, together we can help fundamentally shape what kind of destiny awaits us."

On November 20, 2019, Rennie wrote for Third Force News explaining why people should vote for the LibDems. 

Lifting straight from the LibDem campaign materials, he wrote: "We are aiming high in this election. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reshape our politics, and give hope to the millions of people who want a fairer, brighter future."

In November 2019, Swinson wrote to constituents saying that the election is a "once-in-a-generation" opportunity to reshape politics.

The National: The National was sent a letter from Jo Swinson to her constituentsThe National was sent a letter from Jo Swinson to her constituents

Commenting, SNP MSP Gill Paterson said: “The LibDems were humiliated across the UK in December’s General Election, with Jo Swinson’s fanciful pitch to become the next Prime Minister falling flat on its face.

“Nick Clegg, Tim Farron and Jo Swinson all stood on a ‘once-in-a-generation’ platform and they’ve all fallen on their swords.

“But still the so-called Liberal Democrats have the cheek to try and block Scotland’s right to choose a better future.

“The only people who should be allowed to determine Scotland’s future are the people of Scotland themselves – as long as the LibDems fail to understand that, they will continue to remain irrelevant.”

The Liberal Democrats have been approached for comment.