Saturday, 13 December 2014

Katy misses-out on Labour deputy leadership

Local MP Katy Clark has failed in her bid to become Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in Scotland.

When the results of the contest were released (December 13), Lothians List MSP Kezia Dugdale emerged victorious with 63% to Ms Clark’s 37%.  A breakdown of the votes showed Ms Dugdale triumphed in two of the three sections of the ‘electoral college’ system used by the Labour Party – Politicians and Members - with Katy Clark winning the Affiliates (mainly trade unions): each have 33% of the total vote. 

In the election for Leader of the Labour Party in Scotland, Renfrewshire East MP Jim Murphy emerged as a clear winner with 55% of the vote, beating List MSPs Neil Findlay (35%) and Sarah Boyack (9%).

Mr Murphy is seen as very much on the right of the political spectrum, having been a loyal supporter of Tony Blair and New Labour.  The new leader of the Labour Party in Scotland also backed the illegal war in Iraq, has supported austerity measures and is committed to spending billions-of-pounds on creating and maintaining a new generation of Trident nuclear weapons of mass destruction, which would continue to be based just 30 miles from Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city.

Kezia Dugdale, Murphy’s new deputy who will stand-in for him against Nicola Sturgeon at First Minister’s Questions in the Scottish Parliament, is also perceived to favour the current centre-right positioning of the Labour Party.

Katy Clark, MP for North Ayrshire & Arran, ran an unashamedly socialist campaign, urging members to return Labour to its left-wing roots.  Neil Findlay was the socialist contender for Leader.  However, the election results showed the Clark-Findlay vision is very much in a minority within the Labour Party in Scotland.

Speaking after the results were announced, Katy Clark said, “The campaign for a Scottish Labour Party which opposes austerity, privatisation and Trident, and which instead argues for a mass programme of council house building, public ownership and tax justice has received huge support.  This result signals the beginning, not the end of the campaign to reclaim the Labour Party for popular socialist ideas.”

Ms Clark noted, “Thousands of Labour members voted for the most radical left-wing policy platform that has been put before them for decades.  I have also secured tens-of-thousands of votes across Scotland from those who have voted in the trade union section, as people have responded to my call for a Labour Party that opposes austerity, rejects privatisation and Trident.”

The local MP congratulated Kezia Dugdale on her victory, adding, “It was a real contest of ideas as we have travelled Scotland.  We now need to unite behind a clear message to win with a radical policy programme.”

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