Left-wing MSPs rule out Scottish Labour leadership bid after Kezia Dugdale quits


In the meantime, Alex Rowley, who was Scottish Labour's deputy leader, will step up and take interim charge of the party - with one leading trade union saying there was "no need to rush to a leadership election". Her critics on the Left will argue that the party's recovery in its Scottish seats was far more down to Jeremy Corbyn than it was to her. Corbyn's critics still can't quite bring themselves to accept that winning seats can be a test of whether someone is a good leader: for them, it's winning power in government, or nothing.

In her resignation letter, Dugdale wrote: "I choose to stand down because I believe it is best for me and best for Scottish Labour, at a time when we can be positive and optimistic about our future".

His lack of experience could hold him back, but the MSP for Central Scotland is a member of the Campaign for Socialism and his support for Corbyn could see him surprise many in the leadership election.

Rowley, formerly deputy leader takes on the role straightaway after Dugdale resigned on Tuesday, but party insiders are calling for a full contest, not "a coronation".

The Scots party leader quit last night insisting it was time to hand on the baton. Later she suggested the United Kingdom leader was incapable of uniting Labour moments after he won a leadership contest in which she had declined to back him.

To recap a little, Kezia Dugdale was critical of Jeremy Corbyn when he first assumed the UK Labour leadership and when he faced a challenge for that post. "I wish her well for the future".

The news that he is likely to put his hat in the ring comes hours after another key figure in the party MSP Neil Findlay, who organised Corbyn's leadership campaigns in Scotland, announced he would not stand in the contest.

Both Mr Findlay and Mr Rowley are supporters of Mr Corbyn, and had been among the early bookmakers' favourites to succeed Ms Dugdale.

He used to be former prime minister Gordon Brown's fixer in Fife, and backed Corbyn in his leadership election a year ago, breaking from Dugdale's opposition to the Labour leader. I care deeply about the Labour Party - I love it and I have devoted my adult life to serving it in a number of different capacities.

Richard Leonard, who was elected to Holyrood in 2016, could put himself forward while another possible runner could be Anas Sarwar, the former MP who lost his Westminster seat in 2015 but was elected to the Scottish Parliament a year later, and who served briefly as interim Scottish leader after Johann Lamont stepped down in 2014. She made a decision to stay, albeit briefly.

"His terminal illness forced him to identify what he really wanted from life, how to make the most of it and how to make a difference".

"She was a tough and principled political opponent and, in challenging circumstances for her party, she showed huge determination and spirit".

Dugdale will continue as an MSP for the Lothian region, with Rowley set to take charge of the party in Scotland until her successor is found.

Rowly was quick to call for Jim Murphy's resignation as leader following the 2015 General Election, declaring that the party needed "a fundamental change in direction and strategy".

Another victory was to secure a Scottish seat on UK Labour's NEC - an achievement which was crucial for the moderate wing of the party in that it meant she was able to prevent a Corbynite majority on the ruling body.

In her resignation statement, she explained that Mr Aitkman's death had taught her about how to live and "never wasting a moment".