Kezia Dugdale defends reputation of Labour MSPs

Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has defended her team of MSPs against the “bad reputation” they have acquired in recent years.

And the newly elected head of the party in Scotland has refused to rule out the prospect of some of the Westminster heavyweights deposed in May’s election rout by the SNP returning to at Holyrood next year.

“I’m not going to be mean about any of my colleagues, I’m very proud of my group in the Scottish Parliament,” she said

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“They often get a bad reputation and I think it’s very unfair. For example the Labour party is the only party with a GP on its health team.

“We’re the only party with a policeman of 30 years service on its justice team. There are excellent Scottish Labour MSPs there, but I do want to renew the Scottish Labour party and I will be encouraging new people to join up and stand for us next year.”

Former international development minister Douglas Alexander has been among the Labour heavyweights linked with a Holyrood seat, as well as ex-pensions spokesman Greg Mulholland.

Asked if she would be happy to see ex-MPs standing at Holyrood, Ms Dugdale, who was only elected leader on Saturday, said it was a “democratic process.”

She added: “There are 16,000 members of the Labour party, I hope there will be lots more in the future, and every single one of those party members is entitled to stand for Parliament.”