JIM Murphy pledged to end Labour’s “losing streak” in Scotland, tackle the nation’s poor record on poverty and support business when he spoke about his decision to stand for the Scottish party leadership.
The front-runner in the race to replace Johann Lamont said he wanted to use the passion that had been evident in the referendum campaign to unify and improve the country.
He also said that he would refuse to be pushed around by the UK party following complaints by Ms Lamont that Scottish Labour had been treated as a “branch office” by Ed Miliband.
Speaking on Sky News, Mr Murphy said he was “big enough” and “ugly enough” not to be pushed around on decisions he would make on strategy policy, staffing and money.
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“I will try and bring the Labour party together, but these are decisions that will be made in Scotland and not somewhere else in the United Kingdom,” Mr Murphy said.
“I am also going to try and bring Scotland together after the passion and disagreements of the referendum. I am going to bring the country that I love together.
“I am proud of the Scottish Labour Party. I am proud of Scotland. But I am not satisfied, there is so much that has got to change. The Labour Party has got to change here in Scotland. The first thing that has got to change is our losing streak. We have lost too many elections north of the border. I want to bring that to an end.”
Mr Murphy also said he wanted to use Holyrood powers to produce Labour answers to Scotland’s problems.
“We have ingrained generational poverty in too many parts of this great country where your life chances are determined by your grand-father’s or your mother’s experience of life. That all has to end – that inherited disadvantage where people don’t get on in life because of those sorts of things.”
He added that he wanted to create prosperity by supporting Scottish businesses – an approach that would increase wages and the tax take available to fund public services.
When asked to diagnose the problems that have beset Labour in Scotland and seen the party lose successive elections to the SNP, Mr Murphy answered: “The trite answer we didn’t get enough votes, but the fact is that the Labour Party hasn’t been passionate enough in recent times. It has occasionally been divided. I want to end that period of Scottish Labour Party self-harm.”
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