SCOTTISH Labour will elect Jim Murphy’s successor in just over two months’ time, with the election taking place under a one-person one-vote system for the first time in the party’s history.
The party’s executive committee has agreed an election timetable, with the result due on Saturday, 15 August.
‘Dugdale submitted her resignation as deputy leader’
Kezia Dugdale, who is standing in the contest to succeed Murphy, submitted her resignation as deputy leader at the meeting of the party’s ruling body yesterday.
Dugdale’s resignation as deputy means Scottish Labour will also hold an election for that post on the same day as the leader’s election.
Scottish Labour’s social justice spokesman Ken Macintosh is also standing to replace Murphy, who quit after just seven months as leader.
Nominations will open tomorrow and close on Friday, with the results announced on 15 August.
The process will be conducted under a one-member one- vote ballot rather than the old electoral college system that gave a formal role to trade unions in leadership elections.
The party’s education spokesman, Iain Gray, has been appointed acting leader until a new leader is elected. Gray, who led the Scottish party from 2008 to 2011, will lead for Labour at Holyrood’s First Minister’s Questions.
He said: “We are grateful to Jim for his service to our party and our movement. At a time when it would have been easier to walk away, he stepped up and led with great energy and passion.
“The Scottish Executive Committee has passed a substantial package of reforms today that will be vital to the rebuilding of the Labour Party.
“Make no mistake – the road back for Scottish Labour will be long and difficult. It won’t happen overnight and we can’t expect it to. After today, though, I am confident about the long-term future of Scottish Labour.
“The leadership contest gives us a chance to get back out around the country speaking with people about their hopes and dreams for the future. When our new leader is elected in August we need to hit the ground running so that we offer a credible alternative to the SNP in the Scottish Parliament elections next May.”
Meanwhile, Labour MSP Macintosh paid tribute to Murphy, who lost his East Renfrewshire seat on 7 May.
Macintosh said: “As the leadership contest gets under way, I will say more about my vision for a more open, more positive and more forward-looking party, but today I want to pay tribute to my friend and colleague, Jim Murphy.
“Many people will know Jim as a politician of tremendous stature in Scotland and the UK, but having worked closely with Jim for 16 years as the MP for East Renfrewshire, I know first-hand the difference he has made for thousands of constituents too.
“Jim’s abilities and talent are there for all to see but it was the fact that they were accompanied by enormous commitment, boundless energy and phenomenal drive that helped him achieve so much.
“Along with all my colleagues in Scottish Labour I want to thank him for the role he has played in our movement and for his contribution in making Scotland a better country.”