Henry McLeish steps into Labour leadership row

Henry McLeish has called on Ken Macintosh to 'spell out' his accusations against the 'party machine'. Picture: Andrew O'Brien

Henry McLeish has called on Ken Macintosh to 'spell out' his accusations against the 'party machine'. Picture: Andrew O'Brien

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FORMER First Minister Henry McLeish has called on Labour leadership contender Ken Macintosh to “spell out” his accusations against the “party machine”, after the MSP claimed his supporters were being bullied to prevent a contest to succeed Jim Murphy.

Mr Macintosh and Scottish Labour deputy leader Kezia Dugdale have confirmed that they are standing in the contest to succeed Mr Murphy, who announced his resignation after narrowly winning a vote of confidence at the party’s ruling body.

Labour MSP Mr Macintosh, who is the party’s social justice spokesman at Holyrood, said his supporters were being “bullied and intimidated” into withdrawing their backing, but did not name those responsible.

However, Mr McLeish, who led Labour between 2000 and 2001, called on Mr Macintosh to state more details about the allegations he had made.

He said: “I think Ken has to spell out in a bit more detail.

“I think people have lost trust in us and we need to work hard to fight it back.

“But I think what struck me was, and I don’t know whether the allegations that Ken Macintosh is saying are true or false, when you use words like bullied and intimidated and pressurised these are serious concerns.

“We know about the political machine, we know that politics is a tough business, it’s very competitive, passions are running high and there’s a lot at stake.

“My main concern is for the Labour Party, this is not the way we should be conducting business, but to be fair to Ken Macintosh, if there are serious issues that have to be dealt with, then clearly the party in Scotland, the party machine as he calls it, has to have a look at what’s going on.

“This would be a lasting legacy the party simply doesn’t need at this time.”

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