Kezia Dugdale vows to remain Labour leader 'no matter what' after party slips behind Tories

Written by Alan Robertson on 6 May 2016 in News

Labour wiped out in Glasgow as party also loses Eastwood and Dumfriesshire

Kezia Dugdale insisted she will stay on as Scottish Labour leader “no matter what” after her party was overtaken as the second largest party at Holyrood.

Dugdale, who will return to the Scottish Parliament after she was elected via the Lothian regional list, claimed Labour lost votes as a result of the decision to try and move beyond the constitutional debate.

Labour failed to return any constituency MSPs in Glasgow as the SNP swept all eight, including Glasgow Pollok where former leader Johann Lamont lost to Humza Yousaf.


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Dugdale’s party also lost two seats to the Conservatives as Ken Macintosh came third in Eastwood while Elaine Murray was beaten in Dumfriesshire by Scottish Secretary David Mundell’s son, Oliver Mundell.

However, Labour did take Edinburgh Southern off the SNP while former leader Iain Gray and Jackie Baillie held on to their East Lothian and Dumbarton seats respectively.

“It’s a very bad night for the Labour party, there is no question about that,” said Dugdale as the party slipped behind Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives in terms of seats at Holyrood.

Asked if she will stay on as leader of the party, she said: “No matter what, 100 per cent, I am remaining leader of the Scottish Labour party.”

Dugdale, who only took over as leader last August, said the election was “always going to be tough” just 12 months on from the party losing all but one of their Scottish MPs at Westminster.

“For our part, Labour in the new parliament - led by me - will do as we promised in this election,” she added. “We will fight to ensure that the parliament uses its new powers and fulfils its great potential.

“I was adamant that I would fight this as an election about the future, talking about the potential for change, using the powers of our new parliament to deliver that change instead of rerunning the arguments of the past.

“And I know that for some the constitutional argument remains the most important factor when casting their vote and my determination to try and move the Scottish debate on will have cost me and my party votes tonight.

“But in the long run I believe our politics has to be about the future of our economy, the life chances of the children in this country and our public services and I and my party will continue to make that argument in our new parliament.

“There is no doubt that our defeat for the Labour party tonight is painful but it is not the end of our campaign. We will continue to argue for Labour values, Labour ideas and Labour principles. The work to renew the Scottish Labour party so that it is fit to serve the people of Scotland continues.”

Earlier, former Labour MP and Holyrood candidate Thomas Docherty labelled the party’s manifesto “self-immolation for dummies” as he hit out at income tax proposals put forward.


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