Scottish Labour general secretary Colin Smyth steps down

SCOTTISH Labour’s general secretary announced today he was quitting his job in the latest stage of a “clear out” of the party’s headquarters following its defeat to the SNP last year.

SCOTTISH Labour’s general secretary announced today he was quitting his job in the latest stage of a “clear out” of the party’s headquarters following its defeat to the SNP last year.

Colin Smyth, who has been in the key organising job for the last four years, said he would be standing down to focus on his job as a Councillor in Dumgreis and Galloway.

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It comes a week after it emerged that another senior figure at the party’s Glasgow headquarters, head of communications Rami Okasha, had also left.

Both changes in personnel have been backed by Scottish party leader Johann Lamont as she seeks to build a new team following the party’s crushing defeat to the SNP in the Holyrood election last year.

It is also expected that the party - which is still based in Glasgow - is preparing to open a new office in Edinburgh, as Lamont seeks to ensure more energy is focussed on the Scottish parliament.

Smyth said, “Working with the members and the staff of the Scottish Labour Party is a real privilege. However, after successfully being re-elected as Councillor in May, I decided to inform Johann that I wanted to take on new challenges that would give me more time to focus on that role. Having just got married and moved to a new home in Dumfries, I was keen to make that move now, before the demands of the rollercoaster of election campaigns starts again. “

Johann Lamont said: “Colin Smyth has been and remains a dedicated servant of the Scottish Labour Party. I, on behalf of all the party, thank him for all he has done.

“I understand his reasons for deciding to move on but we will miss him in John Smith House.

Iain McNicol, General Secretary of the Labour Party added, “Colin has been a dedicated, loyal and hardworking servant of our party over the past 10 years. He has given me great support in my first year as General Secretary and delivered a fantastic fight back in the Scottish local election this year. “