Scottish Labour general secretary Brian Roy stands down

Written by Ailean Beaton on 9 August 2019 in News

Roy has been general secretary of the Scottish Labour party since 2014

Image credit: Scottish Labour Party Youtube

Scottish Labour’s general secretary Brian Roy has announced he will stand down after five years in the post, saying it is time to “move on to new challenges”.

His resignation comes after days of infighting among senior Labour politicians over the party’s position on allowing a Scottish independence referendum.

The row was sparked by Shadow Chancellor and Deputy Leader John McDonnell, who told an Edinburgh audience on Wednesday that a Labour government would allow it “if the Scottish people decide they want a referendum”.

He said: “After 12 years working for the Labour Party, under four UK Labour leaders and seven Scottish leaders, it is time for me to move on to new challenges.

“Having been at the very centre of Scottish Labour during the most turbulent political times, I have worked hard to unite the party, drive our campaigns forward, develop and diversify our candidates, and modernise our campaign machine.

“It has been a privilege to work with Labour prime ministers and a Labour first minister, with many leaders in between, and I sincerely wish Richard Leonard and Jeremy Corbyn the very best as they prepare to win again as a party of government.”

Roy was appointed general secretary by former Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy.

In a longer statement, released on his Twitter account, Roy praised party staff, whom he said often “go without the recognition they deserve” and also said that the party had to be honest with itself about “where we are, why we got here”.

He said: “I joined the Labour Party 24 years ago and in that time politics has changed immeasurably. What has not changed is my commitment to the Labour Party and the need for a Labour Government to tackle poverty and deliver a fairer society.

“In Scotland, we should be in no doubt about the scale of that challenge, and we have to be honest about where we are, why we got here and the hard work and political leadership that it will take for us to win again. But it can be done.

“The only other constant throughout my time with the labour party is the unrivalled commitment and professionalism of our staff across the UK – both past and present.

“They are without doubt, collectively the single most important part of any campaign. I am immensely proud of the team I have buil in Scotland and will miss them all.

“They work harder, smarter, more creatively and effectively than anyone could know, often going without the recognition they deserve. I saw it, I recognised it every single day and I will forever be thankful for it.”

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: “On behalf of Labour Party members up and down Scotland I want to thank Brian for his dedication and hard work for our Party over the last 12 years.

“His extensive knowledge of, and loyalty to, the Labour Party, and his passion for our values, remains undiminished. He has led the Party organisation and the Party’s staff as our General Secretary through a very turbulent time.

“We all wish him every good wish for the future.”

Jeremy Corbyn said: “Brian Roy’s experience and knowledge has been invaluable to Scottish Labour, and to me personally, and I thank him for his dedication to our party and our movement.

“Brian is Labour through and through, and his charity cycle ride for Palestine is a great example of his commitment to international solidarity and justice.

“I wish him all the very best for the future.”

Responding to the news that Brian Roy has quit Scottish Labour after working for the party for 12 years, Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Willie Rennie said:

“Labour is losing moderates as Jeremy Corbyn and his team have made it abundantly clear they will abandon Scotland’s place in the UK if it inches them closer to power.

“Moderates will find a home in the Scottish Liberal Democrats as we robustly support Scotland’s place in the UK and the EU.”

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