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by Jenni Davidson
28 May 2019
Neil Findlay quits Scottish Labour frontbench citing 'internal battles' within party

Neil Findlay quits Scottish Labour frontbench citing 'internal battles' within party

Neil Findlay - Image credit: Scottish Labour

Labour MSP Neil Findlay has resigned from the Scottish Labour frontbench as business manager, party liaison and spokesperson on constitutional relations due to “internal battles” within the party.

The Lothian MSP also announced that will leave the Scottish Parliament at the 2021 Holyrood election.

In his resignation letter, Findlay said he had been considering standing down for six months and had made the decision in March following discussions with his family, staff and close friends.

Findlay made a number of recommendations to party leader Richard Leonard for rebuilding the party in Scotland.

These included having a “clear and easily understood position on the constitution” and ending the party’s culture of “eternal, internal infighting” and the “toxic culture of leaks and briefings” as well as putting forward “radical” policies for the 2021 election, being unequivocally anti-austerity and working more closely with trade unions.

On Twitter he added that “life is too short to be involved in endless internal battles with people who are supposed to be on the same side”.

Neil Findlay was elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2011, following nine years as a councillor on West Lothian Council.

During his time as an MSP he has campaigned on a number of issues including on behalf of women who have suffered through the insertion of mesh implants, for keeping the children’s ward open at St John’s Hospital in Livingston and for inquiries into policing of the miner’s strike and undercover policing.

He was also the party’s campaign manager for last week’s European election, in which Scottish Labour took less than 10 per cent of the vote, dropping from second to fifth place and losing both its MEPs.

Speaking of his decision, Findlay said: “It has been an enormous privilege to serve the Scottish Labour Party, first as a councillor and then a member of the Scottish Parliament.

“I am proud of the work I have done representing my constituents in the Lothian region and of the campaigns I have led in parliament most notably to retain the children’s ward at St John’s hospital, supporting the blacklisted construction workers, the mesh campaign, miners’ justice and support for the victims of undercover policing amongst many others.

“I will continue to work hard and diligently on these and other issues right up until I leave parliament.”

Responding to Findlay’s resignation, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: “I am very sorry that you will not be able to be a member of the Scottish Labour front bench but I also know from our conversations that this is the right decision for you personally and in that you have my full support.

“Your service as an MSP has been outstanding.

“You have served the communities you represent with dedication and on the basis of your strongly held principles.

“Your campaigns, such as the mesh campaign, the pressure for an inquiry into the policing of the miners’ strike, and blacklisted construction workers are a model of what being a member of this parliament should be about.

“Through this work you have demonstrated the important lesson that for socialists the purpose of the parliament is not to be found in the daily grind of procedural arguments, but instead in how the parliament relates to the lives of working-class people in this country."

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