Scots Labour leadership battle may end up in court

A Labour MSP calling on Scottish party leader Richard Leonard to step down has warned that demands for a leadership contest may end up in a court battle.

Wednesday, 9th September 2020, 9:52 am
Richard Leonard says he is going nowhere
Richard Leonard says he is going nowhere

But Edinburgh Southern MSP Daniel Johnson says rebel MSPs are "not at the stage" where they are ready to put up a challenger to replace Mr Leonard.

Mr Johnson, along with fellow MSPs James Kelly, Jenny Marra and Mark Griffin have all called on Mr Leonard to stand down amid plunging poll ratings.

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The group claim that with a fifth of MSPs at Holyrood no longer supporting Mr Leonard’s leadership, that should be enough to permit a leadership election.Mr Johnson argued this is the case because in this area the Scottish Labour Party “defers” to the UK party’s rule book – adding that this accepts “that a fifth of the parliamentary party constitutes a valid challenge”.However, Scottish Labour general secretary Michael Sharpe said he is “not aware of any such precedent on this issue” for the Scottish Party.Mr Johnson branded that “absurd”.Concerns about Scottish Labour’s leadership have been raised ahead of next May’s Holyrood elections, with the group of MSPs calling for Mr Leonard to quit – who also include Jenny Marra and Mark Griffin – fearing the impact he will have on their party’s performance at the poll.Mr Leonard remains insistent that he will lead his party in next year’s election campaign, arguing that it would be a “dereliction of duty” for the party to “turn in on itself at the very point when the country is facing an unprecedented crisis”.

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