Jackie Baillie announces Scottish Labour deputy leadership campaign
The MSP for Dumbarton said that she could no longer “sit on the side lines” while her party was in “decline”
Jackie Baillie has announced her candidacy for deputy leader of the Scottish Labour party, saying that “the future of our party is hanging in the balance”.
The MSP for Dumbarton said that she could no longer “sit on the side lines” while her party was in “decline” and said that the poor result in the recent general election was because voters had “lost trust in our leadership and were confused by our manifesto”.
She said that her campaign would seek to “bring the party together at a time when it is at its most divided”.
Baillie made the decision to run for the position after a proposal for her to job share the role with Pauline McNeill was rejected by the party.
Holyrood understands that it is highly likely that McNeill will also announce her candidacy for the position.
It is expected she will make her decision known on Thursday afternoon after consulting party members and family.
Scottish Labour is in the process of electing a new deputy leader after the previous holder of the position, Lesley Laird, lost her seat in the 2019 general election.
Also in the race for the position is Dundee councillor Michael Marra, who announced his candidacy saying that he believes it is “vital that we have a councillor on the ballot and a unifying voice in the debate.”
Baillie has been an MSP since 1999 and has held such positions in previous Labour governments as minister for social justice.
On announcing her candidacy, she said: “I can’t sit on the side lines any longer and watch my party decline. That’s why today I am announcing my candidacy as Deputy Leader of the Scottish Labour Party.
“I am disappointed that my plans to unite with my friend and colleague, Pauline McNeill, have been rejected, but I look forward to working with her to rebuild our beloved party regardless of whether we share a candidacy or not.
“The future of our Party is hanging in the balance. We experienced two crushing defeats in 2019 and the Scottish electorate did not feel able to put their trust in Scottish Labour. As a result, the Party lost all but one MP. The result has meant that communities across Scotland have been subjected to another five years of Tory austerity, on top of the more than a decade of SNP cuts that they have already had to endure.
“Voters lost trust in our leadership and were confused by our manifesto. The inconsistent message that came from senior figures within the Labour Party on the two biggest issues facing Scottish voters – Scottish independence and Brexit – meant that the electorate did not know what the Party stood for and instead went elsewhere.
“If Scottish Labour does not accept responsibility for the result and take drastic steps to change, then the Party will become a residual force in Scottish politics. My aim is to unite the Party and bring members together from across the political spectrum, in order to rebuild the Party for the future.
“My membership cards say ‘By the strength of our common endeavour, we achieve more than we achieve alone.’ This resonates with me now more than ever.”