Scottish Labour faces divisive deputy leadership contest

Pauline McNeill says the deputy leadership contest in Scotland could be divisive
Pauline McNeill says the deputy leadership contest in Scotland could be divisive
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A senior Labour MSP has warned that the forthcoming deputy leadership contest in Scotland may be “acutely polarised” as she pulled out of the race.

Pauline McNeill said she had hoped to “bring the party together” but fears it could be a divisive contest between her MSP colleague Jackie Baillie, the moderate, and left-winger Matt Kerr, the Glasgow councillor, who both now remain in the running.

“After talking to people and reflecting on the on the final ballot my sense is that the contest will be acutely polarised within the party and that there is little scope for a voice in the middle of what will be a long contest,” Mrs McNeill said.

“The party in Scotland must change or die. There has never been a more crucial time for Scottish Labour.”

Dundee councillor Michael Marra was knocked out of the race at the weekend as he failed to get enough nominations.

Ms Baillie, sacked from the front bench team by Richard Leonard in 2018, and Mr Kerr now have to secure nominations from local constituency groups and affiliated organisations, before a ballot between 21 February and 2 April. The result will be announced on 3 April, the day before the winners of the UK Labour Party leader and deputy leader elections.