THE Community trade union yesterday became the first to support Jim Murphy for the Scottish Labour leadership when members voted to formally nominate him for the position.
Members of the union, which represents a broad range of workers, also voted to support Kezia Dugdale, the Lothians MSP who is standing for the deputy position.
The support of Community will be welcomed by Murphy, who has been struggling for trade union support in comparison with his rival
Neil Findlay, who officially launched his campaign yesterday.
“Our members are clear: they want a leadership team for Scottish Labour that can get our party back on track, can win elections and can make Scotland a fairer and a more prosperous country. With Jim Murphy as leader and Kezia Dugdale as deputy, Scottish Labour will be well placed to win back the trust of the Scottish people,” said John Paul McHugh, assistant general secretary of the organisation, which was formed by the merger of the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation and the National Union of Knitwear Footwear and Apparel Trades.
Findlay, who is expected to be endorsed by the Labour left, has secured the support of Unite, Unison and the GMB.
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Unions – which account for one-third of the leadership contest electoral college, along with elected politicians and Labour members – are also expected to support Katy Clark MP, the North Ayrshire and Arran MP who is standing against Dugdale for the deputy position.
The list of contenders for the Scottish party leadership is completed by Sarah Boyack, the long-standing Labour MSP who is up against Murphy and Findlay for the top job.
At the campaign launch in his home village of Fauldhouse, West Lothian, Findlay pledged to end poverty in Scotland and urged a return to the “timeless Labour values of community, solidarity, fairness and justice”.
He highlighted his background as a construction worker, student, housing worker and teacher to argue that he was not a “machine politician”.
He vowed, if he became first minister, to cut youth unemployment, replace the national minimum wage with a living wage, tackle the “scandal” of social care and deliver an NHS “fit to meet the demands of the 21st century”. He also pledged to bring forward a national building programme to construct 50,000 new homes for rent over one term.
Boyack has said she will bring a “bold and radical” approach to Labour.
Murphy yesterday held a conference call with party members and told them that Labour “can, should and must” win the 2015 and 2016 elections.
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