Scotland politics

Scottish Labour leadership: MSP Neil Findlay second to enter contest

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Media captionMSPs Neil Findlay and Sara Boyack, put their cases for why they should be elected leader of the Scottish Labour Party

MSP Neil Findlay has become the second candidate to join the race to be leader of Scottish Labour.

The party's health spokesman at Holyrood said he wanted progressive change and to create a fairer, more equal and prosperous Scotland.

The first to declare an interest was former environment minister and Lothian MSP Sarah Boyack.

The contest was sparked after leader of nearly three years, Johann Lamont, resigned on Friday evening.

Speculation continues to surround the intensions of shadow international development secretary, MP Jim Murphy, who has yet to rule himself in or out.

Earlier in the week, Mr Findlay, who is viewed as being on the left of the party, had urged former Prime Minister Gordon Brown to stand for the post.

However, the Fife MP has ruled himself out of contention.

Announcing his intention to stand, Mr Findlay said: "I have been overwhelmed by the messages of support from people from within the Labour Party and across the wider Labour movement all urging me to stand.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Johann Lamont made her sudden resignation as leader last Friday

"It is no secret that I wanted Gordon Brown to run but since Gordon has ruled himself out I now believe we need to have a wide-ranging debate about the way forward for the Labour Party, but more importantly the country."

The Lothians list MSP added: "I want to bring the Labour Party together to work for progressive change and create a fairer, more equal and prosperous Scotland.

"If elected Labour leader I will put the issue of social justice at heart of everything we do - this is the historic mission of the Scottish Labour Party but it also has to be about what we deliver for the Scottish people in this post-referendum period."

Mr Findlay's opponent, Ms Boyack has spoken for the first time about her reasons for standing.

She said that as a member of first minister Donald Dewar's 1999 Holyrood cabinet and as a member of Labour's Devolution Commission, she had the "experience to lead".

Improve lives

Ms Boyack added: "This leadership election is our chance to debate how we move our party forward.

"We need to reach out not just to those who have traditionally supported us but to build a coalition to tackle social and environmental injustice and to create a more equal, prosperous economy that works for people.

"The referendum mobilised people to get involved in the debate about our future and we need to build on that energy.

"Across the country there were thousands of meetings bringing people together to discuss how we could improve people's lives.

"To deliver on those ambitions we need to move the political debate on to how we use power."

What's the timetable?
Date Event
Friday, 31 October Nominations officially open
Tuesday, 4 November Nominations officially close
Monday, 17 November Voting gets under way
Saturday, 13 December New leader elected