LOTHIAN MSP Kezia Dugdale has confirmed she will stand for the leadership of the Scottish Labour Party.
The 33-year-old, who has been deputy leader since December, is seen as the favourite to take over the helm following Jim Murphy’s resignation in the wake of the party’s general election disaster.
Ms Dugdale has now confirmed that she will formally launch her campaign next month.
The Labour MSP said that transforming Scotland’s education system to make it fairer for all would be her key priority.
“I am standing to be Scottish Labour Leader and I intend to transform my party for the good of my country.
“I will formally launch my campaign next month when the Scottish Executive Committee sets out the rules and timetable for the leadership contest. At that point there will be much more to say on how we must meet the challenge ahead.
“This is a moment when Scottish Labour must and will change. It’s time for a new generation with a vision for the future of Scotland.
“Labour lost badly in the General Election. Nothing we can say or do will disguise that fact. The job of our next leader isn’t to explain away that loss or find excuses - it’s to understand why people were so reluctant to vote for us and find a way of regaining the trust of the people of Scotland.
“I do not underestimate the scale of the challenge Scottish Labour faces. But we’ve been the insurgent force before, pushing back against the political establishment and winning great victories and profound social change. We will be that force again. Our values are what we will carry forward with us - all the rest is baggage.
“We have a mountain to climb, but I believe I offer a fresh start for Scottish Labour. The great social change we fight for is not a partisan cause. I can be a unifying figure across our party and our country.
“As the daughter of two teachers I know the value of education. At its best it can transform the life chances of young people, no matter their background. The only way we can secure a fairer, brighter tomorrow for Scotland is by giving our young people a better start in life today. As Scottish Labour Leader that’s what I would work for every single day.”