Richard announces plan to run for Labour leadership

Richard Leonard MSP (fourth, left) joined Clare Quigley to campaign for the Fortissat by-election last week
Richard Leonard MSP (fourth, left) joined Clare Quigley to campaign for the Fortissat by-election last week

Central Scotland list MSP Richard Leonard believes he is the man to lead the Labour party back to power in Scotland.

Following Kezia Dugdale’s decision to step down as leader of the Scottish Labour Party, the former union official has thrown his hat into the ring to replace her.

As leader Mr Leonard is hopeful of not just overhauling the Conservatives as the main opposition to the SNP, but becoming First Minister.

But to do this he knows he needs a party, which has been split by bitter infighting in recent years at both national and local levels, to come together.

Mr Leonard said: “Now more than ever Scotland needs a united Labour Party committed to real and bold change.

“I have always believed that it is important to act according to Labour principles rather than simply manage, manoeuvre and position to win support.

“This means taking more chances, Labour is 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 power for its own sake, but power for a purpose.

“That is why I have decided to seek to be the next Leader of the Scottish Labour Party.

“Not simply to be the leader of a strong opposition in Holyrood, but to lead the Labour Party across Scotland and so to be the next Labour First Minister.

“For too long people have heard what we are against, but not what we are for.

“It is time for a Scottish Labour vision for the new society we want to build: based on full employment in a sustainable economy, funding publicly run public services providing dignity for our pensioners and hope for our young.”

Mr Leonard is likely to face a strong challenge from Glasgow list MSP Anas Sarwar, a former interim leader of the party in Scotland.