Scotland’s largest union supports Richard Leonard MSP for leader of the Scottish Labour party
On Tuesday evening at Unite Scotland’s HQ in Glasgow the two candidates for leader of the Labour party in Scotland, Richard Leonard MSP and Anas Sarwar MSP, spoke at one of the first hustings to take place in Scotland. Following the hustings and debate at Unite’s Scottish Executive Committee today (Wednesday 20 September) the union decided overwhelmingly to nominate Richard Leonard for leader.
Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: “This election is not simply about who will be the next leader of the Labour Party in Scotland. It is actually about the future of the Labour Party here. We believe that across the UK Labour now has a political agenda for radical change. We need a leader in Scotland to match that commitment to real socialist change. We believe that Richard Leonard is the candidate with the experience and commitment to deliver that.”
At the launch of his leadership bid Richard Leonard spoke of people in Scotland being “hungry for change”. He also put forward a bold manifesto for change, including stringent rent controls to protect the poor against money-grubbing landlords and called for an industrial strategy which would embrace the public ownership of the railways and the Royal Mail. These are policies which have long been part of Unite’s general political manifesto.
Scot Walker, chair of Unite Scotland, said: “We want Labour to take the radical socialist road in Scotland. We support Richard Leonard because we believe he would take us on that journey. We urge Unite members to follow our lead and vote for Richard in the coming election.”
The union also urged those Unite members who are not already Labour Party members or registered as Affiliated Supporters of the Labour party to sign up before the deadline of 9 October to participate and vote in the leadership election. Pat Rafferty said “Unite members must make our voice heard in this great contest about the future of our Party and the future of Scotland."