Richard Leonard faces no confidence vote as motion goes to party ruling body

Ten members of Labour’s Scottish Executive Committee are demanding a motion of no confidence in Labour leader Richard Leonard is brought.

Saturday, 12th September 2020, 7:30 am
Richard Leonard is under pressure to step down

The group – including MSPs Jenny Marra and Mark Griffin, along with councillors Scott Arthur and Monique Adams – have called for an emergency meeting of the SEC to be held today to discuss the issue.

But the move has been branded “factionalism” by Mr Leonard, who has refused to heed internal calls for him to quit over the past week amid plunging poll ratings.

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A letter obtained by The Scotsman to Scottish Labour general gecretary Michael Sharpe calls for the emergency meeting to be convened at the “earliest opportunity” as the party’s SEC meets today.

The motion being proposed by the group states: “The SEC expresses that it has no confidence in the Leader of the Scottish Labour Party.”

The letter to Mr Sharpe says: “We are requesting an emergency meeting of the SEC to discuss a no confidence motion in the leader of the Scottish Labour Party.

“As per the standing orders of the SEC … this requires a meeting to be convened at the earliest opportunity, with our motion as the sole agenda item. As there is a meeting scheduled already for Saturday 12 September, we would suggest that this emergency meeting takes place on Saturday, in place of the planned meeting.

“We have copied the governance and legal unit into this email to ensure the rules are properly followed.”

The letter has also been signed by Labour peer Baroness Meta Ramsay, and SEC members James Adams, Maureen Devlin, Suzan King, Jackie Martin and Jane Prinsley.

MSPs James Kelly and Daniel Johnson have also called on Mr Leonard to quit.

But the move met with a stinging response from Mr Leonard.

He said: “The last thing Labour supporters and those we need to win back want to see is a party turning in on itself. A lot of these people are not mandated by their organisations to vote in this way. That exposes how this is motivated by faction and that this is an entirely factional move.

“They have nothing to say or offer, no ideas, no plan to protect jobs and living standards against the backdrop of the Covid crisis. That is what I want us to concentrate on: the real struggle the people of Scotland are in.”

The SEC comprises MSPs, councillors, trade union representatives and other affiliated party representatives.

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