Richard Leonard tipped as favourite for Scottish Labour leader

Written by Tom Freeman and Kevin Schofield on 31 August 2017 in News

Former union official Richard Leonard is being tipped to stand for the Scottish Labour leadership

Scottish Labour

Central Scotland MSP Richard Leonard is being tipped to replace Kezia Dugdale as Scottish Labour leader.

A left wing ally of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, Leonard was only elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2016 after spending 20 years as an industrial organiser for the GMB union.

However, a party soruce told Holyrood's sister site PoliticsHome Leonard was "110% certain" to stand in the contest after key Corbyn ally Neil Findlay and deputy leader Alex Rowley ruled themselves out of the race.

It is thought Monica Lennon has also ruled herself out of the race.

“If he stands, Richard will definitely win as the membership are predominantly left-wing,” the source said.

PoliticsHome was told Rowley and Leonard held a meeting yesterday at which it was agreed that Mr Leonard would be the left-wing candidate in the race.

Like Findlay, Leonard is a member of the Campaign for Socialism group, which aligns itself with Jeremy Corbyn's Momentum.

It is thought former deputy leader Anas Sarwar is also considering a bid for the job, while other potential candidates such as economy spokesperson Jackie Baillie have remained silent so far.

Dugdale quit as leader on Tuesday night with immediate effect, saying the party needed "a new leader with fresh energy, drive and a new mandate"

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