Kezia Dugdale: Scottish Labour needs fresh talent

The new Scottish Labour leader believes the Scottish Parliament must represent the people of Scotland better. Picture: TSPL

The new Scottish Labour leader believes the Scottish Parliament must represent the people of Scotland better. Picture: TSPL

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SCOTTISH Labour’s new leader has appealed for fresh talent to sign up to stand for the party in the Holyrood election.

Kezia Dugdale said the Scottish Parliament must be more representative of the country it serves - as she called for people such as shop workers, cleaners and nurses to consider standing for election.

“We need to shake up Scottish politics. We need a Scottish Parliament that looks more like Scotland,” she told the GMB political forum in Glasgow.

Ms Dugdale was elected as the new leader of Scottish Labour a week ago, asking voters across the country to “take a fresh look” at the party.

She beat Holyrood veteran Ken Macintosh in a leadership election sparked by the resignation of former MP Jim Murphy shortly after Labour’s near wipeout in Scotland in the general election

Ms Dugdale has already announced a gender-balanced front bench team for Scottish Labour, mirroring First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s equal gender split in the Scottish Cabinet.

And she said that at least half of Scottish Labour’s new candidates for next year’s Holyrood election will be women.

But she told the GMB event: “We need more than that.

“I won’t be the only face from a new generation leading Scottish Labour. I want to bring new expertise, new experience and new energy to the Labour Party in Scotland.

“We need every section of society represented in Holyrood. We need doctors, but we also need nurses and porters.

“We need business leaders, but we also need shop workers and cleaners. We need lawyers, but we also need officer workers too.

“We need people who understand the political system, but we also need people who can challenge the new establishment in Scottish politics.

“I want to challenge the cosy consensus in Scottish politics.”

She went on: “There’s a new establishment in Scotland that says that what matters is shared identity.

“That the interests of those sat in the boardroom are the same as those who stand on the shopfloor.

“It’s not true. I’m going to challenge that consensus.

“It won’t always be popular but people will be in no doubt as to where Labour stands and who we stand with.

“So I ask people to take a stand with us. Join us and be part of creating the change Scotland needs.”

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