Top tip out of race to be Labour deputy

THE MSP being widely touted to be the next deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party has withdrawn from the race.

John Park, an MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, has surprised many people by announcing he will not stand.

After an impressive start to his Holyrood career and with strong union contacts he was thought to be an obvious replacement for Cathy Jamieson, who stepped down to run as leader.

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Mr Park told The Scotsman: "I've been in Holyrood a year and I thought I need more experience before taking on this sort of leadership role.

"Also I want to concentrate on my private member's bill on apprenticeships."

Early yesterday, one senior Labour MP, Frank Doran, had stated that "Mr Park and Iain Gray would be a dream ticket for renewing Labour".

The contenders for the deputy's job now are all Glasgow MSPs – Johann Lamont, Bill Butler and Des McNulty.

Meanwhile, Ms Jamieson, one of the three main contenders for the leadership, launched her bid yesterday, announcing that she wants to bring the party "back to ordinary people".

She vowed to "reconnect" with local communities for a more vibrant and prosperous society.

Mr Gray sent a letter to Labour councillors calling for unity in the party. However, Labour's top councillor, Stephen Purcell, the leader of Glasgow City Council, has warned that he and his colleagues will wait and see before deciding who to support.

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