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WILLIE Rennie has said that his Scottish LibDems’ track record of making gains in Scottish elections “will make the difference” at the Holyrood vote on May 6.

Speaking to PA apparently in between bouts in a Lamborghini and standing near cars doing doughnuts, the Scottish LibDems leader claimed his party “have gained seats in the last four elections in Scotland”.

Over the roar of the engines, Rennie said: “The gains that Liberal Democrats make next Thursday will change the balance of the parliament, take the referendum off the table for five years and put the recovery first.

“In fact, we have gained constituencies and seats in the elections in 2016, 2017, 2019 and the European elections in 2019 too.”

One problem there Willie. Is that true?

READ MORE: 'Blatant attempt to mislead': LibDems at it again with deceptive election flyer

First, let’s look at Rennie’s party’s historic performance in Holyrood elections.

In 1999, in the first ever vote for a devolved Scottish Parliament, the LibDems won 17 seats. That’s a number Rennie’s party can now only dream of, and they repeated it in 2003’s Holyrood vote.

In 2007, they dropped one, so they had 16 MSPs in Holyrood. In the next election in 2011 this dropped off a cliff, and the LibDems returned just five MSPs.

In 2016, Rennie’s party repeated that performance, again returning five MSPs. That to us is not a record of gains, but a clear decline.

Now, despite it being a Holyrood election happening on Thursday, Rennie may not have been talking about Holyrood elections. LibDems have a habit of conflating votes in this way.

The National: Willie Rennie doing his best imitation of a Top Gear auditionWillie Rennie doing his best imitation of a Top Gear audition

Rennie said he was talking about elections in “2016, 2017, 2019 and the European elections in 2019 too”.

So, in 2016 he must mean the Holyrood elections. We’ve already seen that the LibDems held on to five MSPs, returning the same number as they had in 2011.

They lost list seats in that election, but gained two constituencies when Willie Rennie and Alex Cole-Hamilton took their seats from the SNP.

In 2017 there was a UK General Election. The LibDems returned four Scottish MPs to Westminster, an increase of three on their previous performance.

That is a gain.

In 2019’s General Election, the LibDems also returned four Scottish MPs. They did gain one seat, North East Fife, but they lost another, East Dunbartonshire.

Even worse for the LibDems, the one seat they lost was their then leader Jo Swinson’s.

Gaining an MP to lose another, who is also your leader, may not be seen as a net gain by most people.

Rennie says this type of LibDem gain “will change the balance of the parliament”. It won’t.

READ MORE: The best of Willie Rennie's cringeworthy election campaign photoshoots

In the 2019 European Parliament elections the LibDems actually did gain a seat. They went from zero to one.

Unfortunately, that gain was erased just months later by the Brexit they now support.

Why Rennie has seen fit to make these dubious claims should be obvious: he’s hoping to cling on to the last scraps of relevance his party has in Scotland (or the UK as a whole).

Why Rennie made these claims while driving an Italian sports car early on a Saturday morning (some time before 8:27am when the photos were published) is anyone’s guess.

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