New Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard promises ‘real change’

Written by Jenni Davidson on 27 November 2017 in News

Richard Leonard and Jeremy Corbyn will speak at a press conference in Glasgow

Richard Leonard MSP - Image credit: Richard Leonard

Richard Leonard will pledge “real change” and a “recharging” of Scottish Labour, when he is joined by Jeremy Corbyn at a joint press conference in Glasgow today.

He is expected to tell the party to “face the future with confidence” as he proposes transforming society “for the many not the few” as he lays out his vision for Labour in Scotland.

Leonard’s plan for the first months of his leadership will form the basis of Scottish Labour’s alternative programme for government, which he is expected to outline in more detail at the next party conference in March.

This is expected to include twelve policy reviews such as funding and powers for local government, meeting the housing crisis, improving child health, tackling climate change and developing green energy, extending public ownership, as well as a commission on tax. 

Leonard will state that his leadership will be measured by three goals: to win for Labour in Holyrood and become first minister; to give the Scottish people confidence that they can make real change; and to lead a Labour surge in Scotland that will help Labour win the next Westminster elections.

Leonard is expected to say: "I was elected Scottish Labour Leader promising real change - and it is real change that together we will deliver.

"This task will not be easy. Change never comes without a fight. But we must, and we will, face the future with confidence. 

"Confidence that we, the Labour Party and labour movement, will be the force to transform our society for the many not the few. 

"Confidence not just in our own abilities, but in the capacity of working people in our country to run their own affairs, to control their own lives, and build a more prosperous and just nation.

"We must give our people the confidence that real change can happen.

"That’s the agenda I set out over these past few weeks - and I’d like to thank Anas Sarwar for his spirited campaign.

“And it is this agenda - a plan for real change - that we must now take into our party and to the people of Scotland. 

"Real change, for the many not the few, is the beating heart of our party.

“It has been our mission and our inspiration ever since Keir Hardie stood as the first Labour candidate in Mid Lanarkshire in 1888.

"But a powerful mission can and must always be reshaped and recharged. That’s what Jeremy Corbyn has done so successfully as leader of the Party in Westminster. 

"His principles, policies and integrity - along with the energy and passion of hundreds of thousands of new members - has breathed new life into our party.

"I pledge to do the same here in Scotland.”

Jeremy Corbyn is expected to add: "I want to offer my warmest congratulations to Richard Leonard for being elected as the new leader of the Scottish Labour Party.

“I know that under Richard’s leadership Scottish Labour will once again bring hope and confidence to the people of Scotland.

"During this leadership election, Richard laid out a bold and radical agenda for Scottish Labour and showed his determination to bring real change to Scotland.

“I look forward to working as closely as possible with Richard to change our society for the many not the few. 

 "Now our whole party and movement must campaign together to inspire people in every nation and region of the UK to have the confidence to be a country that genuinely cares for all.

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