Labour leader race ‘is go­ing down to the wire’

Evening Times - - NEWS - By STE­WART PATER­SON

Po­lit­i­cal Cor­re­spon­dent THE con­test to be­come the next Scot­tish Labour leader en­ters the fi­nal days with both con­tenders seek­ing to se­cure last-minute votes.

Vot­ing in the long-run­ning lead­er­ship con­test since Kezia Dug­dale re­signed ends on Fri­day with the win­ner de­clared by the party on Sat­ur­day.

Anas Sar­war’s cam­paign said it was con­fi­dent he has al­ready se­cured around 8000 votes while Richard Leonard ap­pealed to those still to vote to back him.

Mr Sar­war won the back­ing of for­mer leader Jo­hann La­mont who said her fel­low Glas­gow MSP was the “pos­i­tive choice” for an “out­ward-look­ing, di­verse, Labour Party”.

Mr Sar­war’s cam­paign cochair, Pauline McNeill, also a Glas­gow MSP, said the fi­nal re­sult would be close.

She said: “There is no doubt that this con­test is go­ing to be close, it will go to the wire.

“This fi­nal week of cam­paign­ing is cru­cial, and turnout could well de­cide the re­sult.

“My mes­sage to ev­ery mem­ber and trade union sup­porter is: don’t sit this one out. Cast your vote for Anas and to­gether we can re­move the Tories and SNP from of­fice and re­turn Labour to power both at West­min­ster and in Holy­rood.”

Mr Leonard, who has the back­ing of the lead­er­ship of most trades unions, and hopes to win sup­port from left-wing Labour mem­bers, is­sued his mes­sage to party mem­bers and those el­i­gi­ble to vote.

He said: “In this elec­tion I have em­pha­sised the need for strong and in­clu­sive lead­er­ship, based on tra­di­tional Labour val- ues, and rad­i­cal poli­cies that set out real change for our party and our coun­try.

“Pro­gres­sive tax­a­tion and a wealth tax; a 10-point plan from ed­u­ca­tion to in­dus­trial pol­icy and pub­lic own­er­ship; strong ac­tion on the liv­ing wage; de­fence of our pub­lic ser­vices and re-em­pow­er­ing lo­cal gov­ern­ment: we need all of those things to take on the SNP and the Tories and to win power again for all those peo- ple in all those com­mu­ni­ties who need a Labour Gov­ern­ment.

“Vot­ers need us to stand clearly on their side, with prin­ci­ples and a vi­sion, pro­vid­ing hope and op­ti­mism again.”

Party mem­bers, af­fil­i­ated sup­port­ers and reg­is­tered sup­port­ers who paid a one-off £12 fee by Oc­to­ber 9 are el­i­gi­ble to vote in the con­test.

The bal­lot opened on Oc­to­ber 27 and closes at noon on Fri­day.

Anas Sar­war, left and Richard Leonard, are in the fi­nal days of cam­paign­ing to be Scot­tish Labour leader

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