Anas Sarwar wins Usdaw backing in Labour leadership race

Anas Sarwar can bring Scottish Labour together again, according to former party MSP Karen Whitefield, who has been unveiled as the chair of his leadership campaign.

Anas Sarwar has backing of Usdaw

Ms Whitefield is now a senior official with the Usdaw union, which has nominated Mr Sarwar for leader. She has been appointed just days after the Unite union came out in favour of rival candidate Monica Lennon.

Mr Sarwar, a Glasgow MSP, is also backed by the Labour Movement for Europe, three-quarters of nominating parliamentarians and more than 80 councillors.

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Ms Whitefield, the former MSP for Airdrie and Shotts, said: “I have known Anas for many years and I have campaigned alongside him. I am convinced that he will make a strong and determined leader for our party.

“He is committed to bringing us together and rebuilding people's faith and confidence in Scottish Labour.

“I look forward to working with him during a positive and friendly election that demonstrates the very best of our party and our movement.”

The new Labour leader, to replace Richard Leonard, will be unveiled at the end of next month after a streamlined timetable was agreed ahead of the Holyrood election in May.

Mr Sarwar said: “Karen is a hugely respected figure in our wider movement, championing workers and fighting on their behalf.

“Thank you to all the members, trade unionists, councillors and parliamentarians who have already backed my campaign.

“In the days ahead I’ll be outlining my plans to rebuild Scottish Labour so that we can rebuild Scotland together.”

Ms Lennon won the endorsement of Scotland’s biggest union Unite this week with Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty, stating she "understands the day-to-day struggles of working people”.

The Central Scotland MSP said at the time she had entered politics to "make life better for workers and for people who don’t get a fair start in life”.

She said: "As leader of Scottish Labour, my mission will be to deliver the radical social and economic change that Scotland needs."

Mr Leonard resigned claiming that continued speculation about his leadership had become a distraction ahead of the coming Scottish Parliament election on May 6.

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