Labour party has made the right choice says Kelly
James Kelly MSP was celebrating at the weekend after playing a key role in Jim Murphy’s victory in the Scottish Labour leadership contest.
Mr Kelly was co-chair of the former shadow defence minister’s campaign, alongside Jenny Marra MSP.
It was revealed on Saturday that the MP for East Renfrewshire had seen off the challenge of MSP’s Neil Findlay and Sarah Boyack. Kezia Dugdale was also elected the Scottish Party’s deputy leader in the ballot.
Rutherglen MSP Mr Kelly, who yesterday was made Labour ’s Parliamentary Business Manager in Mr Murphy’s first shadow cabinet, told the Reformer this week he believed the party had made the right choice.
And he hit back at claims Mr Murphy’s links with Westminster would hamper him: “I don’t accept that.
“What strikes me, being out and about in the area, is that ordinary voters are welcoming Jim and see him as a strong and recognisable face. They see him as someone who can lead the Labour Party.
“I’m delighted with the outcome as this is what Labour needs at this time. I think the combination of Jim Murphy and Kezia Dugdale present a positive image to voters, not just in Rutherglen and Cambuslang, but throughout Scotland.
“This represents a new start and new page for the Labour Party.”
Mr Kelly said acting as co- chair of the campaign had been “hectic,” but he added: “It’s always good to be involved at the heart of a campaign.
“There was a lot of work involved. Jim had support from across the board and that showed the success he had in getting across what he thought the Labour Party needs to turn itself round. That’s what we were trying to achieve in terms of his campaign. It was about building confidence among the party members because it’s them who will be working hard to secure Labour votes in the General Election and the Scottish Election in 2016.”
Mr Murphy’s selection was also welcomed by Tom Greatrex MP, who had nominated his former shadow cabinet colleague.
However, he refused to be drawn on whether a move from Westminster to Holyrood would interest him after some political commentators suggested the new leader should be looking to persuade him to make the step.
The Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP said: “There’s a big job for the Labour Party in Scotland and I’m confident he’s the right person, and we’ve seen that in the first few days of his leadership. This isn’t just about challenging the SNP, it’s about articulating the Labour vision in Scotland.
“I am a candidate for Rutherglen and Hamilton West in six months time and my focus is on representing the people of the constituency until Parliament dissolves and then fighting to be re-elected in 2015. When it comes to speculation, it’s down to the party members to make these choices when vacancies arrive.
“My focus is doing the best for people in Rutherglen and Cambuslang on issues that are discussed at UK level.”