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by Tom Freeman
19 June 2015
Scottish Labour leadership election - nominations close

Scottish Labour leadership election - nominations close

Nominations have closed in the contest for the leadership positions at the Scottish Labour party.

Scottish Labour members have a choice of two MSPs - Ken Macintosh and Kezia Dugdale - to replace Jim Murphy, who quit as leader after the party lost all its MPs but one at the General Election.

Three candidates are standing for the deputy leadership role: Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson and MSPs Alex Rowley and Richard Baker.

Structural changes pushed through by Murphy before his departure mean the election for both the leader and deputy leader will be based on one-member-one-vote, with all contestants taking part in four hustings.

At his campaign launch, Macintosh said he wanted to be less “aggressive and adversarial” than previous leaders.

“I want us to stop defining ourselves by our opposition to the SNP, to the Tories or for that matter to the Referendum and talk positively about Scotland’s future, about the good society we want to build,” he said.

Dugdale, who has already garnered the support of nearly three-quarters of the party’s parliamentarians in the nomination process, said she would try to win the party new supporters.

“My campaign will be reaching out to people whose support Labour has lost, and those who’ve never voted for us before - because our values are as relevant today as they have ever been,” she said.  

The party’s executive committee has said the leader and deputy leader will be placed automatically at the top of their regional lists for next year’s Holyrood election, but both Rowley and Baker have said they would not accept an automatic place if they win.

Acting leader Iain Gray warned against the contest becoming too insular. “This can’t be a conversation simply amongst ourselves. We need to speak to, and hear from, people who share our Labour values but haven’t joined our movement,” he said.

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