Scottish Labour ‘fighting for its very survival’, deputy leadership candidate Jackie Baillie says
Scottish Labour is “fighting for its very survival” and must choose between “continuity and change”, deputy leadership candidate Jackie Baillie will say in a keynote campaign speech on Friday.
The Dumbarton MSP said the deputy leadership contest was not just about who would join the Labour leadership team but about the “future direction” of the party.
With voting kicking off next week, Baillie, the only MSP to have held her seat at every election since 1999, is up against Councillor Matt Kerr, who represents Cardonald on Glasgow City Council.
While Kerr is on the left of the party and is an ally of Corbyn and Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard, Baillie is to the right of the party and has clashed in the past with the Scottish Labour leader in the past and was dropped from his shadow cabinet in 2018.
Kerr has said the party must become “the party of grassroots community activism once more, not the party of leaks and briefings against one another”, while Bailie has talked of “organising and uniting our movement” to take on the SNP and the Tories in next year’s Holyrood election.
In advance of her speech, Baillie said: “This is more than just a choice about who will join Richard Leonard as part of the leadership team; it is about the future direction of Scottish Labour.
“It is the choice between continuity and change - more of the same won’t do.
“My message to members is that we can, and must, do better.
“This isn’t a debate about what kind of future we have, but about whether we have a future at all.
“We are fighting for our very survival at the next Scottish Parliament election, and we owe it to our party members and to the people of Scotland to get our act together.
“We can’t hope to expose the SNP’s policy failings and arrogance in power unless we introduce the change within our party that will get us on the road to recovery.
“As deputy leader my focus will be on campaigning and organising, working with our members and trade unions to build networks and coalitions of voters in every community, which is how I have won in Dumbarton.
“By bringing together the leadership team and the grassroots members who are crying out for change, Scottish Labour’s fightback can begin.”