November date for msp’s leader bid
Richard Leonard will discover on November 18 if he has been successful in winning the Scottish Labour leadership.
The Central Scotland MSP last week announced that he is running to replace Kezia Dugdale following her resignation last month. The party’s executive have now agreed on the timetable to elect her successor.
Nominations for the post close on Sunday, with members’ registration to vote ending on October 9.
The campaign period will see candidates take part in 10 hustings events across the country ahead of the party vote on November 17, with the result being declared the next day.
Mr Leonard, who contested the Airdrie & Shotts constituency at last year’s Scottish Parliament election, is up against former deputy leader Anas Sarwar in the leadership election.
He told the Advertiser this week: “I know, from campaigning across Airdrie and Coatbridge, the real and bold change that our communities need.
“Too many of our young people are in precarious jobs, too many of older people are living in fuel poverty, and too many families of all ages are living in sub-standard and overcrowded homes.
“I’ve put my name forward to be leader of the Scottish Labour party to deliver that bold and radical agenda for change with energy, credibility and experience.”
Just a few months ago in the general election almost 13 million people voted for a Labour vision which committed us to extending public ownership, to ending austerity and so properly investing again in our public services and to redistributing wealth and power to the many from the few.
It was on this platform that the people of Coatbridge, Chryston & Bellshill voted in Hugh Gaffney to be their Member of Parliament. He will be a great advocate for the people.
In Airdrie & Shotts Labour came within 200 votes of winning the seat and last week in the local council by election in the Fortissat ward Labour also triumphed.
This demonstrates that Scottish Labour’s resurgence is not a flash in the pan but can be built upon. It also shows that the kind of Labour Party that the people of this area want is one that is united and true to its own values.
And now more than ever Scotland needs a strong and united Labour Party committed to real and bold change.
Too many of our young people are in precarious jobs: zero hours and fixed-term contracts and working through agencies. Too many of our older people live in fuel poverty. Inequality is rising so that in Scotland today the richest one per cent own as much wealth as all of the poorest 50 per cent combined.
Our NHS is facing cuts and staff shortages. Nowhere is this more evident than at the Monklands General Hospital.
Education, care and other public service workers are being asked to pay the price for a crisis they did not create.
We need industrial reconstruction right across Scotland and we need an economy where we see a fundamental shift in power from those who own the wealth to those working women and men who through their labours and endeavour create it.
It is for these reasons that we need a distinctive Scottish Labour vision again, delivered with energy but also delivered with conviction and credibility.
That is why I have decided to seek to be the next leader of the Scottish Labour Party: not simply to be the leader of a strong opposition in Holyrood but to lead the Labour Party across Scotland and so to be the next Labour First Minister.
For too long people have heard what the Scottish Labour Party is against but not what we are for.
I have unflinchingly opposed nationalism and separatism and will continue to do so. Labour’s strength is not only that we are a broad church but that we organise and represent people across the whole of these islands as part of a worldwide movement.
I pay tribute to my friend Kezia Dugdale for beginning the change we need.
It is now time to set out Labour’s vision of a more equal Scotland with full employment in a sustainable economy, funding quality public services, providing dignity for our pensioners and hope for our young.
That is a future worth fighting for and it is a fight I hope to lead.
I pay tribute to my friend Kezia Dugdale for beginning the change we need
Stood down Kezia Dugdale