'Give Labour in Scotland a way forward' - Unit...

'Give Labour in Scotland a way forward' - Unite Scotland calls upon Jim Murphy to step aside

09 May 2015

Reacting to the loss of every Labour seat in Scotland bar one, Pat Rafferty, leader of the biggest union in Scotland, Unite, said "It is time for change the Scottish Labour Party. That is the overwhelming, unambiguous message from Scotland's people, including its trade union members, on Thursday.

"Indeed, it is past time for change. Labour in Scotland has been bleeding support and credibility for years. On one issue after another - the embrace of "Blairism", the opposition to a second "devomax" question in last year's referendum, the decision to campaign with the Tories in the ill-judged "Better Together" campaign, and in the election of a new leader last year - Unite has warned against the course being followed by the Party and has, alas, been proved right. The price of ignoring such warnings has been a virtual wipe-out for Scottish Labour at Westminster.

"The Party has now less than a year to put this right before the Holyrood elections. Either Scottish Labour rediscovers its mission as the natural voice for social justice in our nation, or irrelevance and ultimately extinction looms. To expect trade unions to campaign for a business-as-usual Scottish Labour in those elections is to ask for the impossible.

"That is why it is now time to genuinely listen, learn and change. For Labour to stand a chance of rising from the ashes of this electoral ruin, the people must be able to look at the party and see very clearly that it is truly 'under new management'.

"Change must begin with a new leader. It is surprising that Jim Murphy should feel he still has a mandate to lead the Party after Thursday's results. I do not say this out of any personal animus. Jim fought a courageous campaign, and the Party's problems clearly long predate his leadership. But staying on as leader will only prolong the party's agony. Scottish Labour must be rebuilt from the ground up, free from the taint of machine politics and the legacy of the misjudgements of the last Labour government.

"I therefore call on Jim Murphy to resign without delay, and give the membership of the Scottish Labour Party the chance to determine their own way forward in rebuilding from Thursday's ruins."


For further information, please call Pauline Doyle, Unite director of communications, on 07976 832 861