In a scathing condemnation of the New Labour project that re-branded the Labour Party as a moderate version of the Conservatives, local MP Katy Clark said the political re-positioning has “failed” and has taken Scottish Labour “to the edge of the abyss”.
Ms Clark was speaking during her campaign to become Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in Scotland.
Since the Independence Referendum on September 18th, which Labour and its Conservative partners won with a 55% vote for ‘No’, the party’s fortunes have plummeted. Polls show voters rejecting Labour to such an extent that former ‘safe’ seats – including Katy Clark’s North Ayrshire & Arran - could be lost to the SNP at next May’s UK General Election. The SNP has also seen its membership soar to an astonishing 86,000.
Katy Clark said, “Our party in Scotland has been taken to the political abyss by New Labour and its architects,” adding that she believes it is now time for Labour members to “choose change, and choose the candidates of change”.
Setting-out her radical policy-platform, Ms Clark noted, “From a Living Wage backed by the full force of the law, to decommissioning Trident to help fund the permanent abolition of tuition fees, or the common sense approach of bringing our railways into public ownership, and my radical pledge for free childcare from the age of 12 months - it's what the people of Scotland are demanding.”
The local MP says “Business as usual will lose Scotland for Labour,” arguing that the only way to win-back those who have rejected the party is to “abandon New Labour for good”.
The MP who has represented North Ayrshire & Arran since 2005 continued, "I've campaigned for these policies for many years, and now, more than ever, they are completely in line with the views of Scottish people. Abolishing Trident is right and is popular; introducing a Statutory Living Wage will help thousands of people and it'll help win us elections. We have the opportunity to change Labour and our society for the better.”
Ms Clark explained, “Throughout my life I've always spoken-up for Scotland and for real Labour values even when that's meant disagreeing with the UK leadership of Labour. I'm not a political insider, nor do I want to be. The next Leader of Scottish Labour should be an MSP - that's only right - but if we're going to get real change and a fair deal for Scotland we need someone who won't just accept the status quo in Westminster. I've never done that and I never will.”
Katy Clark MP and Kezia Dugdale MSP are the two candidates for the position of Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in Scotland. The result will be announced on December 13th.