Transport Union bosses back Richard Leonard as Labour leader

Scottish Labour leadership candidate Richard Leonard. Picture: Contributed
Scottish Labour leadership candidate Richard Leonard. Picture: Contributed
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Richard Leonard’s bid to become the next Scottish Labour leader has been backed by union chiefs at the Transport and Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA).

The union’s executive committee unanimously gave its support to the left wing MSP, saying his “radicalism” could help the party win back power both in Scotland and across the UK.

Mr Leonard, a former GMB union organiser who was elected to Holyrood in 2016, is competing against fellow MSP Anas Sarwar to become Kezia Dugdale’s successor, after she dramatically quit the post after two years in charge.

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While Mr Sarwar, a former MP and previous deputy Scottish Labour leader, is seen as being in the moderate wing of the party, Mr Leonard is more to the left and closer politically to UK leader Jeremy Corbyn.

TSSA leader Manuel Cortes said the decision to support Mr Leonard was “one of the easiest decisions” the union’s executive committee had ever made.

He stated: “Standing up for Labour values is in Richard’s blood. His track record as a trade unionist and socialist speaks for itself.

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“He stands for a new economic deal that always puts ordinary people first. That’s why he supports public ownership of Scotland’s railways and its lifeline ferry services.

“Unlike the SNP, he will not hand ScotRail’s keys to the Dutch state railway so they can make profits at the expense of Scotland’s passengers.

“Richard offers Scottish Labour the fresh start our party needs to win back power in Holyrood and help Jeremy Corbyn into Number 10 so we can have Scottish and British governments for the many not the few.

“Put simply, no other candidate will match either his radicalism or socialism.

“Richard’s leadership will not just transform Scottish Labour, but Scotland too, as his policies will make sure no one is left behind.”