Scotland politics

Scottish Labour set for 'biggest overhaul in 90 years'

Jim Murphy MP
Image caption Jim Murphy MP said the reforms were the biggest change for the party in 90 years

The Scottish Labour Party is to undergo its "biggest overhaul in living memory", under reforms unanimously agreed by its executive committee.

The review, led by Jim Murphy MP and Sarah Boyack MSP, was prompted by the party's Holyrood elections defeat.

The plans include fully devolving itself from the UK party on all Scottish matters.

Other proposals include creating an elected leader of the party, a post open to all Labour MSPs, MPs and MEPs.

Previously the post was leader of the parliamentary group at Holyrood, and was only open to members of the Scottish Parliament.

The May election saw the SNP achieve an unprecedented overall majority in the Scottish Parliament, taking 69 of the 129 seats at Holyrood.

Labour went down from 46 seats to 37, losing some of its most senior figures.

The following day, Labour's Scottish leader Iain Gray announced he would stand down - but not until a new strategy was in place to revive the party.

At the time, Mr Murphy, a former secretary of state, said the party needed to "emerge from the rubble of its disastrous election campaign".

As well as full devolution and a beefed up leadership role, the party's new plans include: restructuring local parties based on Scottish Parliament seats instead of Westminster seats, setting up a political strategy board to meet every week, and establishing a new political base in Edinburgh.

Ms Boyack MSP said Labour had devolved Scotland when it set up the Scottish Parliament in 1999, but the party did not reform itself.

"Now we need to make devolution a reality within our party too," she said.

'Fresh start'

Mr Murphy said: "From now on, whatever is devolved to the Scottish Parliament will be devolved to the Scottish Labour Party.

"Structures in themselves don't win us elections, but this, the biggest change for 90 years, marks a fresh start for the Scottish Labour Party.

"People lost faith with us because we lost connection with them.

"Scotland has changed and now it's time for Scottish Labour to change too."

Victoria Jamieson, vice chairwoman of the Scottish executive committee, said the proposals had been unanimously agreed and would set the party "on the path of winning again".

The proposals are to be debated at UK party conference in September and a special Scottish Labour Party conference in Scotland on 29 October, when it will kick off its leadership process.

A further package of changes will be made in a final report by Mr Murphy and Ms Boyack in November.

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