Scotland

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy to name new front bench team

jim murphy Image copyright Getty Images

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy will announce his new front bench team later.

It is expected that Iain Gray will move to take on the education remit and Jenny Marra will speak on health.

There will also be front bench jobs for Neil Findlay and Sarah Boyack, who contested the leadership contest with Mr Murphy.

It is understood that all members of the Labour front bench team will be moved to new portfolios.

Meanwhile, Mr Murphy has said he plans to rewrite his party's constitution to stress that Labour will run its own affairs in Scotland.

In his first big speech since his election, Mr Murphy indicated that he wants to create his own "Clause 4 moment".

Such a change will "represent the re-founding and rebirth of our Scottish Labour Party," he argued.

The new constitution will be voted on by party members in the spring.

Mr Murphy's predecessor, Johann Lamont, previously said that Labour's Westminster leadership treated the party in Scotland as a "branch office".

Mr Murphy hopes his redrafted constitution will lay to rest such suggestions in the future, the BBC's political editor Brian Taylor said.

'We stand together'

During his speech on Monday in Glasgow, Mr Murphy described the move as "a new statement of purpose for a new generation in the Scottish Labour Party".

He said: "Tony Blair rewrote Clause 4 of UK Labour to bring us closer to the centre of politics. I want to rewrite 'Clause 4' of Scottish Labour to bring us closer to the centre of Scottish life."

The Scottish Labour leader continued: "We are a socialist party yes, but we recognise that our political faith grew out of something deeper which is ingrained in our Scottish character.

"It was there before our party in the ethics of Burns' poetry, the economic vision of New Lanark, the actions of the Highlanders who took on brutal landlords. A belief that we stand together, look after those who need our help, and make sure that everyone gets a fair shout."

Up until 1995, Clause 4 of the Labour Party's constitution committed it to a programme of nationalisation. In a move which has since been widely documented as the birth of New Labour, former Prime Minister Tony Blair persuaded the party to ditch it, in an attempt to show that Labour's economic outlook had changed.

On Sunday Mr Murphy, who currently holds a seat in Westminster, indicated that he wanted to become an MSP and Labour's candidate for first minister by 2016.

Mr Murphy won his Scottish leadership contest with 55.77% of the vote under the party's electoral college system, in which Scottish Labour MPs, MEPs and MSPs, party members and unions and affiliated organisations each get a say in the outcome.

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