THE next leader of the Scottish LibDems has said he is willing to work with Tories in "articulating a positive case" for staying in the Union.

Alex Cole-Hamilton, who is expected to be elected as the party's leader next Friday, has distanced himself from any potential deal with Labour due to "recurring problems" with the party.

Speaking with The Times, Cole-Hamilton, 44, said that while he is "not interested in coalitions or pacts" with the Scottish Conservatives he will "work with them in articulating a positive case for our continued membership of the UK".

Telling the paper that there are "reasons" he is not a member of the Labour Party, Cole-Hamilton said: "[It] has recurring problems with the rise of the hard left, it is still grappling with antisemitism, and it has some tendencies I will never support, like big government.

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“Remember the Tony Blair/Gordon Brown ID cards, which many Labour members are still wedded to. We could never sign up wholesale to any kind of merger or pact with the Labour Party, but they are our friends in many ways, and we speak the same language on many social issues.”

The MSP for Edinburgh West went onto say that while the LibDems and Labour had rejected Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross's pleas to form a "pan-Unionist alliance", he said that his party is willing to work with them "if they recognise our union of nations is imperfect, is in need of reform and could do so much better".

He added that Ross was asking the LibDems and Labour to "sign up lock, stock and barrel" to the Tory vision of Scotland remaining in the UK.

Many Scots don’t agree with Douglas or Boris Johnson and I stand where they stand,” Cole-Hamilton said.

“However, I got into politics to make a difference, and you only get to do that if you work with others to that end.”

The LibDems won just four seats in Holyrood at May's Scottish Parliament election, the worst result in the party's history and down from he five MSPs it returned in the 2016 vote.

Willie Rennie stepped down from the party's leadership after 10 years in the role and Cole-Hamilton has stood unopposed to take on the job.

Rennie said before he stepped down as leader that the LibDems were open to working with Labour on "issues of common interest”.

The MSP for Nort East Fife said that working with Anas Sarwar's Scottish Labour would "build confidence between the parties and also amongst the electorate to show we’re getting our act together".

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Talking about his intentions as the new leader of the LibDems in Scotland, Cole-Hamilton said he wants to build a vision for the party that people can believe in.

Seeming to put the constitutional question at the forefront of his vision, he said: "If the choice boils down to a choice between Boris Johnson’s vision of the UK and Nicola Sturgeon’s vision of independence, then everyone loses."