Trade unions gather behind Richard Leonard for Scottish Labour leader

Written by Tom Freeman on 20 September 2017 in News

Three trade unions have declared their support for Richard Leonard to become the new leader of Scottish Labour

Richard Leonard MSP - Image credit: Richard Leonard

Three trade unions have declared their support for Richard Leonard in the race to become the new leader of Scottish Labour.

Leonard, who is vying with Anas Sarwar to replace Kezia Dugdale in the top job, has been endorsed by Scotland’s largest union Unite, as well as train drivers Union ASLEF and the Transport and Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA)

Leonard was an active trade unionist with the GMB union for many years before being elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2016.


Following a hustings between Leonard and Sarwar, Unite Scottish Secretary Pat Rafferty said the election was about more than who would be leader, but also about what direction the party would go in.

“We believe that across the UK Labour now has a political agenda for radical change. We need a leader in Scotland to match that commitment to real socialist change. We believe that Richard Leonard is the candidate with the experience and commitment to deliver that.”

ASLEF Scottish Secretary Kevin Lindsay, a former Vice Chair of the Scottish Labour Party said: “I’ve known Richard for many years.

“He’s a dedicated and hardworking socialist who recognises the value of public ownership, and wants to ensure Scotland’s railways are run for the people of Scotland, not to subsidise the fares of our European neighbours or to be given away as dividends to line the pockets of private company shareholders.

“He’ll represent the vast majority of Scottish people who are fed up with the status quo.”

Sarwar said he would focus on winning funding back for the city of Glasgow.

“Glasgow is the city that has been left behind by the SNP. As a son of Glasgow, I have fought for the communities of this city every day that I have been in politics,” he said.

Sarwar is thought to have the backing of the majority of MSPs, while Leonard is backed by the majority of the parties MPs.


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