Kelly to lead Labour’s election campaign
Rutherglen MSP James Kelly has been handed to task of leading the Labour campaign for the 2016 Scottish Elections.
Mr Kelly, who recently co-chaired Jim Murphy’s successful leadership campaign, will also play a leading role for Scottish Labour in next year’s General Election.
The roles come just days after Mr Kelly was made Labour’s Parliamentary Business Manager in Jim Murphy’s first shadow cabinet.
Some will suggest the Rutherglen MSP has taken on one of the toughest jobs in British politics with the SNP enjoying a massive lead in the polls, but it is a task Mr Kelly says he is looking forward to.
He told the Reformer: “There’s no getting away from the fact I am taking on this role at a challenging time but I relish the prospect.
“It’s clear to me, in the early days of Jim Murphy’s leadership, he’s shown real authority and I think the general momentum will build, not just behind Jim Murphy but also behind Labour ideals.
“Over the past few years I have been heavily involved in Labour campaigns at council level and in by-elections and I look forward to playing an important role in the General Election and in leading the 2016 campaign.
“The way Labour performs is absolutely crucial, not just to the party, but for the whole country.
“A Labour administration will make a positive difference, not just for local communities in Rutherglen and Cambuslang, but throughout Scotland.”
Mr Kelly also said he was looking forward to becoming the party’s business manager at Holyrood.
Although not a frontbench role, the business manager is usually a trusted lieutenant of the party leader.
The role involves dealing with internal party affairs as well as liaising with other party business managers.
As business manager, Mr Kelly will be the new Scottish leader’s “eyes and ears” at Holyrood.
Mr Kelly, who leaves his role as Labour’s spokesperson on infrastructure, investment and cities, said: “I’m looking forward to working under Jim’s leadership at a really important time for Scotland as we move towards the General Election in 2015.
“The role of Parliamentary Business Manager will allow me to help emphasise issues in the Parliament which are important and I’ll also be able to link with Labour campaigns as we move towards the General Election.
“I’m really enthusiastic about this new role and can’t wait to get stuck in.”
Mr Kelly admitted he left his old position, which will be taken on by Mary Fee MSP, with some sadness after campaigning on housing and the living wage.
He said: “I enjoyed the role and highlighting issues such as the living wage and the lack of affordable housing, but you’ve always got to change and freshen things up.
“This new role isn’t just about focussing on Parliament but on campaigns and I can continue to highlight these issues.”
Manager James Kelly MSP has a new role in the shadow Scottish Labour cabinet