Labour party has made the right choice says Kelly

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Dou­glas Dickie

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.”

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