Scotland politics

Scottish Labour leadership: Date set for leader announcement

Anas Sarwar and Richard Leonard
Image caption Anas Sarwar and Richard Leonard have already declared they will stand for the position

The new leader of the Scottish Labour Party will be announced on 18 November.

The party's Scottish Executive decided the timetable and the franchise for the race to replace Kezia Dugdale at a meeting in Stirling.

Two MSPs, Richard Leonard, member for Central Scotland, and Glasgow representative Anas Sarwar, have already announced they will stand.

Nominations for the leadership election will close on 17 September and ballot will then open on 27 October.

Party members and affiliated supporters and registered supporters will be able to take part in the election.

People can register as supporters following the payment of a one-off fee of £12.

The process will also include eight regional hustings, as well as a Women's and a Young Persons' hustings.

Image caption Kezia Dugdale served as the leader of Scottish Labour for two and a half years after replacing Jim Murphy

Interim Scottish Labour leader Alex Rowley said: "Labour is on the up in Scotland. This week we won two by-elections in parts of Scotland the SNP thought were safe for years.

"People of Scotland are fed up of 10 years of the SNP over-promising and under-delivering, and angry at seven years of Tory austerity. Labour has begun to regain the trust of the Scottish people.

"Our next leader will have a great platform to build on, taking us towards the 2021 election where we have a real chance of forming a government."

Ms Dugdale quit after two years in the job saying it was time for her to "pass on the baton" to a new leader with "fresh energy, drive and a new mandate".

A series of other MSPs, including Alex Rowley, have ruled themselves out of the race.

Candidates' reaction

Mr Leonard, who was first elected to Holyrood in May 2016, said he was pleased the rules for the campaign had been agreed.

He said: "We need to use this as an exercise in building up the party and the wider labour movement and sowing the seeds of both unity and unity of purpose -

"Setting out a vision of a more equal Scotland with full employment in a sustainable economy, funding quality public services, providing dignity for our pensioners and hope for our young people."

Mr Sarwar, who was a Glasgow MP from 2010 to 2015 before being elected to Holyrood in 2016, said: "Our campaign will be conducted in a comradely spirit, engaging with our movement and demonstrating to the country that we are ready to transform lives across Scotland.

"I want to focus on creating a country that fights inequality and fights injustice wherever we see it, putting Labour values at the heart of Scotland's future.

"Scotland needs a united Labour Party, ready to form the next Labour government in Holyrood."

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