MORE than half of Labour MSPs have today signed up to a statement backing Kezia Dugdale’s bid for the party leadership.
The current Deputy leader has won the support of former Labour leader Iain Gray and ex-Government ministers Lewis MacDonald and Richard Simpson. Neil Findlay, who stood for the vacant leadership six months ago, is also backing Ms Dugdale.
I have made it clear to colleagues that if elected leader I plan to do the job for many years to come.Kezia Dugdale
The only other candidate for the leadership is Ken MacIntosh who has complained that the party machine is “bullying” MSPs who back him to avoid a leadership contest.
Ms Dugdale said: “I am proud to have already won the support of so many Labour colleagues in the Scottish Parliament.
“The geographical spread of support I have – with MSPs from north and south, east and west – as well as the backing of MSPs from different parts of our movement shows I can bring our Party together.
“Regaining the trust of the people of Scotland won’t happen overnight. There is no short-term fix to Labour’s long-term problems that have been years in the making. I have made it clear to colleagues that if elected leader I plan to do the job for many years to come. That so many have supported me shows a clear understanding of the challenge we face.”
Current leader Jim Murphy has announced he is to quit in the aftermath of Labour’s disastrous general election showing in Scotland which saw the SNP take 56 out of Scotland’s 59 seats north of the border.
The statement signed by 20 Labour MSPs today states: “We believe Kezia Dugdale should be the next leader of the Scottish Labour Party.
“We are from different parts of the country and different sections of the Labour movement - but we are all agreed that Kez is the best placed person to unite the party, bring the movement together and lead us in the years ahead.”