Labour leader race ‘is going down to the wire’
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