Daniel Johnson resigns as Scottish Labour justice spokesperson
Scottish Labour’s justice spokesperson, Daniel Johnson, has resigned from party’s shadow cabinet.
He is the second loss from the Scottish Labour frontbench in one day, coming just after the party’s constitution spokesperson, Neil Findlay, also stood down.
Johnson, who represents Edinburgh Southern, said he had considered his position in light of last week’s European Parliament election results.
Johnson said: “I represent a constituency that voted 80 per cent in favour of remain, where over 20,000 people signed the Revoke Article 50 petition and where the electorate voted overwhelmingly for parties that were clearly for remain and pro-Europe.
“This election took Labour from first at the last European election to sixth in Edinburgh.
“My constituents are clear not only that we must have another referendum but that we must make every effort to ensure the UK remains a member of the EU. That is a view I share.
“Quite simply I do not feel I can represent my constituents effectively unless I can articulate and represent this view.
“I do not believe I can do this from the frontbench under the current direction and leadership of the party.”
Johnson added that he would continue to “contribute constructively” from the backbenches.
In the response to the resignation, justice secretary Humza Yousaf tweeted: “Sad to see @DJohnsonMSP go, all the very best to him.
“He was a formidable Opposition Justice Spokesperson and approached the role in a v constructive manner.
“We often worked together on progressive justice reforms, hope whoever takes over from him will continue in that spirit.”
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: “I’m sad to see Daniel go as he has played a key role in championing those who are ill-served by our justice system.
“I understand that representing a constituency which had 80% support to remain that Daniel has been in a difficult position.
“However, as I’ve said over the last day or so that the breakdown of frontbench Brexit talks at Westminster and the results of the European Parliament election make it clear to me that the Scottish Labour Party now needs to back a confirmatory vote which includes a remain option and I would campaign heavily for that outcome in such a vote.”