Scottish Labour will remain a ‘broad church’, Richard Leonard vows

Written by Jenni Davidson on 11 March 2019 in News

In his speech to the Scottish Labour conference in Dundee, Richard Leonard said he did not denounce dissent

Richard Leonard - Image credit: David Anderson/Holyrood

Scottish Labour will remain a “broad church” that allows dissent, the party’s leader Richard Leonard has vowed.

“Splits are damaging”, Leonard said in his speech to the Scottish Labour conference in Dundee.

He added that anyone leaving the Labour party was “not a cause for celebration, it is cause for regret”.

Leonard said: “I do not welcome people leaving the Labour Party – it is not a cause for celebration, it is cause for regret. 

“So, can I say for the avoidance of doubt that under my leadership the Scottish Labour Party will remain a broad church. 

“The truth is we have always been a party built on traditions of Scottish radicalism and William Morris socialism, on Fabianism as much as Marxism, on people of religion and people without, on trade unionism, on feminism and on co-operation.

“We are a synthesis of all these ideas. That is not our weakness as a party. It is our strength as a party.

“So, for the record: I do not denounce dissent in the Labour Party. 

“In my book our socialism and our democracy are indivisible. So a tolerant and a democratic party is non-negotiable.”

Leonard also outlined a commitment to a free, nationalised bus service in Scotland.

He said the party would fight to make a nationalised bus service part of the transport bill that is currently making its way through parliament.

He also promised free bus travel for under-25s, either during this parliament or, if the SNP wouldn’t back it, on “day one” of a Scottish Labour government, as the first stage of delivering free bus travel for all.

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