Richard Leonard was today announced as the new leader of Scottish Labour, he will succeed Kezia Dugdale who resigned from the role in August.
Leonard, a long-time ally of Jeremy Corbyn, beat centrist candidate Anas Sarwar who has roots in the Blairite faction of the party. Leonard’s win was rather emphatic with nearly 57% of the vote, cementing Corbyn’s grip on the Labour party, and the first indication Corbyn-mania may just creep over the border.
Who is he?
MSP for Central Scotland, born and raised in England, backed by trade unions, and against any coalition with the SNP
Though his win has been somewhat overshadowed by his predecessor who is set to appear on ITV’s I’m a celebrity get me out of here next week. ITV clearly have a liberal view of the word celebrity, Boris’ dad is doing it too.
Dugdale ,who is still an MSP for the Lothians, is coming under fire for abandoning her constituents who will be left without any representation while she’s down under. Leonard, a former trade unionist, said he was “a bit disappointed” in her decision to join the show.
Adding: “I awoke as many other people did this morning to the news that Kezia is going into that programme, and I think that is something the group is going to have to consider over the next few days and I think we will consider.”
In the most highfalutin way ever, he basically said we’re going to sack her but I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say it yet. Conservative MP for Mid Bedfordshire, Nadine Dorries was suspended from her party in 2012 for entering the contest but she was reinstated the following year.
Dugdale has, though, pledged to donate her MSP salary to charity while she’s on the show. Leader, Jeremy Corbyn has said: “It’s her choice to go on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, I don’t think it’s appropriate to suspend someone from the party for doing that, that’s her choice.”
About seven hours into the job and Leonard has already condemned his predecessor and contradicted the party leader. He has though posted some fantastically leader-ish tweets.
Discussing his defeat Sarwar said: “I congratulate Richard on his victory. He has my full and unwavering support.” It seems from this result Scottish Labour has finally chosen to work in tandem with its Westminster colleagues. Scottish votes are pivotal to any potential government not least Labour, though only time will tell whether Leonard’s socialist agenda can overturn an SNP majority.