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Lesley Laird to step down as Scottish Labour deputy leader

Lesley Laird - Image credit: David Anderson/Holyrood

Lesley Laird to step down as Scottish Labour deputy leader

Lesley Laird has announced she is stepping down as Scottish Labour's deputy leader.

Laid lost her seat of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath to independent Neale Hanvey, who was suspended by the SNP, in last week’s general election.

Laird had held her seat since 2017 and became deputy Scottish leader of the party in 2018.

Before that she was a councillor on Fife Council and the local authority’s deputy leader.

Laid said she was “heartbroken” by Thursday’s result.

Announcing her resignation, she said: “It has been an honour to serve as deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party, the party that I love.

“The people of Scotland and the wider UK deserve better than they got on Thursday night. 

“I am heartbroken for those in our communities that will once again be left to bear the brunt of a cruel Tory government. 

“My thanks, enduring admiration and gratitude also goes to our tireless staff and campaigners that fought so very hard for a Labour victory.

“Had I been returned as the member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath I would have been proud to continue as deputy leader alongside Richard [Leonard] to help deliver on his ambitions for the 2021 elections and reform our out of date party structures.  

“But that is not to be. I now intend to step down.”

Laird also called for an end to the public airing of internal party disagreements and urged “a period of calm reflection and some kindness towards each other”.

She said: “I have seen many leaders of the Labour party come and go.  

“Not all were my choice, but I always took the view that they were our elected leader and my role was to serve the Labour party as best I could. 

“Sadly, there is now a culture where for some people in our party washing our differences in public via the media has become a far too regular self-promotional or destabilising tool.

“It’s a behaviour that upsets our members and undermines all the good work our staff and activists do. It needs to stop.

Laird promised to “continue to serve our wonderful Labour party in whatever way I can, because fundamentally we are, and must always be, here for the many.”

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