Scottish Labour vows to elect new leader by end of February as elections loom

Scottish Labour will have a new leader elected by the end of next month, the party has confirmed.

The Scottish Labour leadership election was triggered by the resignation of Richard Leonard and the party’s executive has agreed a condensed timescale for any contest, with the Holyrood elections less than four months away.

Candidates have until midnight on Sunday to declare their intention to run and will require support from at least four of the party’s MSPs or its sole Scottish MP by midday the following Tuesday to be formally nominated.

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

Scottish Labour members and affiliated supporters will be able to cast their votes from Tuesday February 9 until ballots close on Friday February 26.

The new leader will then be announced the following day, Saturday February 27.

Scottish Labour’s chairwoman Cara Hilton said: “The Scottish Executive Committee today agreed that a new leader of the Scottish Labour Party will be elected by a ballot of party members and affiliated trades union members in February.

“The new leader will be announced on February 27 and will lead Scottish Labour into the Scottish Parliament election with a fresh energy to carry Labour’s message and take the fight to the Tories and the SNP.”

Mr Leonard, who held the position of party leader since November 2017, announced on Thursday he was stepping down with immediate effect.

Scottish Labour will have a new leader elected by the end of next month, the party has confirmed. (Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)

His departure leaves the party searching for its fifth leader in the last seven years.

MSP Jackie Baillie, who was Scottish Labour's deputy leader, has taken charge of the party on an interim basis.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.