Lord Foulkes slams Alex Rowley over Scottish Labour row

Lord Foulkes. Picture: Greg Macvean
Lord Foulkes. Picture: Greg Macvean
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The leadership split at the top of Scottish Labour has taken a twist after the peer who gave Kezia Dugdale her first job in politics launched a stinging attack on her deputy, Alex Rowley.

Lord Foulkes suggested that Mr Rowley may be trying to undermine the Scottish leader over the row surrounding Jeremy Corbyn’s position as UK leader.

Mr Rowley last week signed an open letter, along with fellow MSPs Neil Findlay and Richard Leonard, calling for unity behind Mr Corbyn.

But the move came just days after Ms Dugdale suggested Mr Corbyn should stand down, saying she would have gone if she lost the support of backbenchers in a similar way.

Lord Foulkes, who employed Ms Dugdale when he was MSP George Foulkes, said Rowley was being “very negative and unhelpful”. He added that some MSPs, such as Mr Findlay and Elaine Murray, had “regularly and reputably” backed Mr Corbyn.

But he added: “Rowley is a different kettle of fish.

“His ambitions aren’t matched by his talents. I’ve had a number of people contact me expressing concern about what he’s up to in very, very strong terms. He assumes if he goes on like this it will help him. He’s misguided.”

Lord Foulkes also suggested that Mr Rowley had been absent from Mr Corbyn’s leadership campaign last year.

“I think he’s trying to hitch himself to that bandwagon. I’m sure Corbyn would not be a great fan of Rowley. His man in Scotland is Neil Findlay, as we know.”

But Mr Rowley said he did not wish to get involved in “name-calling”.

He added: “What we should focus on is what Brexit means and how we move Scotland forward. George can call me whatever names he wants to. I’m not going to get into that.”