Richard Leonard enters race for Scottish Labour leadership
Leonard announces his bid with a call for a more “audacious” approach to challenging the SNP
Richard Leonard has entered the race for the Scottish Labour leadership, with the former union official announcing his bid with a call for a more “audacious” approach to challenging the SNP.
Kezia Dugdale last week announced her resignation as Scottish Labour leader after two years in the job, saying the party needed “a new leader with fresh energy, drive and a new mandate” to take it into the next Holyrood elections in 2021.
Leonard – entered the Scottish Parliament in 2016 – is expected to be challenged by Anas Sarwar, who served as deputy leader between 2011 and 2014.
- Kezia Dugdale quits as Scottish Labour leader
- Scottish Labour leadership: Who could be in the running?
- Corbyn tries to convince Scotland that the devolution is in the detail
Speaking to the Sunday Mail, Leonard said: "I have always believed it is important to act according to Labour principles rather than simply manoeuvre and position to win support.
"This means taking more chances. Labour are in third place and unless we are audacious now, we will never win back the support of the people of Scotland. And that must be our aim.
"The Labour vote is picking up but that is not enough. We need to win power – not for its own sake but for a purpose."
He said the party needed "a distinctive Scottish Labour vision again delivered with energy but also with conviction and credibility".
And he added: "I have unflinchingly opposed nationalism and will continue to do so. Labour’s strength is that we organise and represent people across the whole of these islands, as part of a worldwide movement."
A former GMB political officer in Scotland and head of economics for the STUC, Leonard is seen as one of Jeremy Corbyn’s allies in the Scottish Parliament.
Julian Smith admitted he asked Brandon Lewis to break pairing arrangement on crunch vote
The House of Commons leader warned Brussels they will force a no deal Brexit if they reject the proposals
With a new poll showing high public support for onshore wind, the UK Government's hostility to renewables looks ever more confusing
Home Office arrested and removed 26 European nationals from Scotland for sleeping rough on the streets in a move now deemed unlawful