Kezia Dugdale demands power from London Labour

Kezia Dugdale wants radical change and will speak to Labour MPs in the Commons today to outline her case for more autonomy. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Kezia Dugdale wants radical change and will speak to Labour MPs in the Commons today to outline her case for more autonomy. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

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Kezia Dugdale has set out plans for more autonomy for the Scottish Labour Party that would see control over policy and candidate selection transferred north of the Border.

The party leader wants to be responsible for policy making, party membership and the management of local constituency Labour parties across Scotland.

“Co-operation” on staffing and finance would be needed between the Scottish and UK parties under the plans and Ms Dugdale is to speak to Labour MPs in the House of Commons today to encourage more autonomy in branches of the party across the UK.

The role and responsibilities of Scottish Labour have been a major topic of discussion for party members since the Scottish independence referendum.

When former leader Johann Lamont resigned last October she said the Scottish party had been treated like a “branch office” by the London leadership.

Greater autonomy could mean Labour develops different policies on issues such as welfare and Trident on either side of the Border.

Party members are set to discuss policy positions at the Scottish Labour conference in Perth this week.

Ms Dugdale said: “With these reforms, there will be no doubt that the main focus of Scottish Labour will be on Holyrood, where the key decisions affecting the daily lives of Scots are made.

“It won’t be the Commons, the Lords or the European Parliament. They are important, of course, but the most important focus of Scottish Labour will be on using the powers at Holyrood to transform the lives of people in Scotland.

“The package of reforms that Scottish Labour agreed in the summer was important, but we must be bolder in seeking to transform our party to regain the trust of the people of Scotland. This will be a radical change in the way Scottish Labour operates.”

Ms Dugdale added: “The UK is changing, and so must the Labour Party.

“We should never shy away from being part of a UK-wide movement, but as the country becomes more devolved, so too the Labour Party has to change with the times.

“I want the Scottish Labour Party to lead the way, and would encourage other parts of the UK Labour Party to set out their case for more autonomy.”

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