Scotland politics

Scottish Labour unveils Holyrood front bench team

Labour team
Image caption Kezia Dugdale unveiled her front-bench team at Holyrood

Scottish Labour has unveiled its front bench team of shadow spokespeople, with leader Kezia Dugdale taking on the finance brief herself.

New MSP Anas Sarwar will take on the health role, Iain Gray remains education spokesman and Jackie Baillie will shadow the economy and jobs brief.

Ms Dugdale said her party's priority would be challenging the SNP over cuts.

There is no front bench role for Jenny Marra, but Labour said she would be put forward to chair a Holyrood committee.

Ms Dugdale has selected a gender-balanced group to match First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's cabinet team.

All six of the party's newly-elected MSPs have roles in the wider team, while four of the top roles are new appointments.

Deputy leader Alex Rowley is the party's community, social security and equalities spokesman, while Lewis Macdonald is the spokesman for culture, sport and tourism.

Claudia Beamish takes on the environment, climate change and land reform brief, Rhoda Grant is the spokeswoman for rural economy and connectivity, and Claire Baker is the justice spokeswoman.

James Kelly remains Labour's parliamentary business manager.

'Anti-austerity message'

Ms Dugdale said the "big issue" in Scottish politics over the coming years would be how Holyrood's new powers were used in relation to the economy.

She said: "By taking on the finance role myself I am showing just how important our anti-austerity message is to the Labour Party.

"To build the kind of economy we need to create a better future for our young people, we need to invest in education. That's what I will focus on in the next few years.

"This is a strong front bench team that will hold the SNP government to account and set out Labour's positive vision for investing in the future of Scotland."

Labour was pushed into third place at the Holyrood election by the Conservatives, who have also unveiled their team of shadow spokespeople.

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