NEW Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said that next year’s Holyrood election is one of his top three priorities and he and his new deputy Tom Watson will be campaigning in Scotland for at least one day a month.
But the move has led the SNP to claim that the party in London is turning Scottish Labour into a “branch office” again.
Mr Corbyn’s announcement came on the day when he finally completed his new shadow cabinet and berated opponents for having “an 18th-century view of the world” in terms of claims he had reserved the top jobs for men.
In his first meeting of the parliamentary Labour party, Mr Corbyn said that his top priorities are housing, next year’s elections in Scotland and Wales and winning the general election in 2020.
It is expected that campaigning north of the Border for Mr Corbyn will start this week with a trip in the next few days.
Mocking the announcement, Western Isles SNP MP Angus MacNeil said: “It’s clear that Scottish Labour is a branch office again and [Scottish leader] Kezia Dugdale will be campaigning from the sidelines.”
Shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray said: “Our new leadership across the UK and in Scotland will be working together in partnership to renew our party. People in Scotland want to hear from our new UK leadership and their ambitious plans for the future whilst the SNP continue to play the same old false tunes.”
Mr Corbyn is expected to receive a hero’s welcome at the Trade Union Congress in Brighton today.
However, yesterday he was forced to defend his choices amid claims he had put men in all the top jobs.
In total, 16 posts in Mr Corbyn’s senior team have gone to women, with 15 filled by men.
By contrast, there are 30 government ministers who are either members of or attend Cabinet and ten are women.
Journalists who were waiting outside the parliamentary offices where the appointments were being made last night apparently overheard an aide to Mr Corbyn complaining that they were “taking a fair amount of s*** out there about women”.
Soon afterwards Angela Eagle had the title of shadow first secretary of state added to her role as shadow business secretary.
By far the most controversial appointment is veteran left-winger John McDonnell as shadow chancellor. Mr McDonnell, who boasts in his Who’s Who entry that his hobbies include “fermenting (sic) the overthrow of capitalism”, has backed renationalisation of the banking system, effectively printing money to fund government investment, and a 60 per cent tax rate on earnings above £100,000. He said: “I have got a long history in terms of financial administration. I was chancellor of the exchequer for London at the age of 29. My policies, with Jeremy’s, have been endorsed by the leadership election, so the economy would be safe in our hands.”