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

31 August 2017

Alex Rowley has been appointed interim Scottish Labour leader after Kezia Dugdale's bombshell resignation.

"I want to thank Kez for her tireless service to our party and movement".

"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". "I wish Kezia and those who may seek to succeed her the very best for the future". Historically Rowley has always been regarded as Gordon Brown's representative on Earth, owing his short-lived term as Scottish party secretary to his mentor, and now representing part of Brown's old Fife seat in the Scottish parliament.

"It was quite a surprise, but I'm sure there will be somebody willing and able to step into her shoes". 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.

Why? Why now? And who might replace her?

But he highlighted other possibilities, such as Neil Findlay or Jenny Marra as other possibilities.

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Well-placed sources are backing Richard Leonard, an MSP with a strong trade union background.

"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".

Despite a general election in which Ms Dugdale and Mr Corbyn defied predictions, the Campaign for Socialism (CFS) could not resist a dig at the expense of the Scottish leader.

But she wasn't a bulwark of strength against the left in her party: she ceded power over decision-making on some issues to them, and indulged them on policies such as Trident renewal when Scottish Labour didn't even need to take a position on the reserved matter.

Isles lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott, a Liberal Democrat, paid tribute to Ms Dugdale. "She is self-evidently no fan of Corbyn, so it is hardly surprising that she has said enough is enough".

There is no doubt that personal reasons also played a major part in her decision. "He taught me how precious and short life was and never to waste a moment".

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"We would like to thank Kezia for all her hard work on our behalf as Scottish Labour leader", he added.

With Yes voters deserting Labour over independence, she expended much energy in developing a position that embraced federalism in an attempt to set out a coherent solution to her party's constitutional conundrum.

The Lothian MSP said: "I will not be putting put my name forward in this election".

Kezia's resignation was unexpected, so it's going to be a while before the new candidates are known, but hopefully the leadership election will give Scottish Labour an opportunity to elect a new leader capable of leading them out of the political wilderness that Labour Party right-wingers like Jim Murphy, John McTernan and Kezia Dugdale led them into.

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.

While romance across the political divide clearly suited the two MSPs and should be something to celebrate in an era of political tribalism, in some recesses of the Labour Party a less than enlightened attitude prevails and there are those who have privately questioned the wisdom of the relationship.

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