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Voting closed in Scottish Labour leader contest

Anas Sarwar and Richard Leonard have been competing for the backing of party members and supporters.

Voting in Scottish Labour’s leadership contest has closed.

Anas Sarwar and Richard Leonard have been competing for the backing of party members and supporters, with the result due to be announced in Glasgow on Saturday.

The leadership election was triggered when Kezia Dugdale quit the top job in August.

Mr Sarwar has the backing of several of the party’s high-profile parliamentarians, including MP Ian Murray and current interim leader Jackie Baillie, while the more left-wing Mr Leonard has the support of the majority of trade unions.

Glasgow MSP and party health spokesman Mr Sarwar came under close scrutiny early on in the leadership contest for the working practices at his family’s firm.

Meanwhile, supporters raised concerns over the sign-up process for those eligible to vote, with accusations of unfair tactics on both sides.

Both candidates thanked their supporters after voting closed.

Mr Sarwar said: “Thank you to the thousands of members and trade unionists who voted for me, and the hundreds who volunteered to help during this campaign.”

He added: “Our campaign to put Labour values at the heart of Scotland’s future galvanised and motivated thousands who want our party to fight harder against a Tory Brexit, be bolder in our ambition to lift children out of poverty, and be more radical with tax powers.

“If elected leader, I will work tirelessly to return us to power so that Scotland has a government that works for the many, not the few.”

Mr Leonard said: “I’d like to thank all those who have voted – and people, members and trade unions who have supported my leadership campaign – I could not have asked for more from the dedicated team of volunteers who have worked tirelessly on the campaign.

“It is a campaign rooted in Labour values from the grassroots up and that work has shifted the debate in Scottish Labour for good.

“Now is the time for the party to come together to take the fight to the SNP and the Tories, for all of those people in all of those communities who need Labour back in power.”

Alex Rowley, former Scottish Labour deputy leader

The election process concludes at the tumultuous time for the party, with Alex Rowley being suspended as a member of the Scottish Labour Parliamentary group on Wednesday.

Mr Rowley had already stepped down as interim and deputy leader after allegations about his conduct emerged.


From Belfast Telegraph