Scottish Labour leadership contenders confirmed

Tom Harris, Johann Lamont and Ken Macintosh The Scottish Labour leadership candidates are Tom Harris, Johann Lamont and Ken Macintosh

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Six candidates have been confirmed in the race to become leader and deputy leader of the Scottish Labour party.

Current deputy leader Johann Lamont is in the running for the top job, along with MSP Ken Macintosh and MP Tom Harris.

Two MPs - Ian Davidson and Anas Sarwar - are standing for deputy, along with MSP Lewis Macdonald.

The official hustings period will start later this month with the result due to be announced on 17 December.

One hopeful, Elaine Murray MSP, is no longer in the running for the post of deputy.

Colin Smyth, Labour's Scottish general secretary, said: "The six validly nominated candidates will now go forward and seek supporting nominations from local parties, affiliated organisations, Scottish Young Labour and councillors.

"Ballot papers will then be issued to all Scottish Labour members and hundreds of thousands of party supporters who pay a political levy through their affiliated organisation or trade union."

Election defeat

Labour agreed at a special one-day conference last weekend to change its structure and appoint a new overall Scottish leader, rather than just for the Holyrood group of MSPs.

Current leader Iain Gray announced in May he would step down but not before a root-and-branch review of how the party can recover from losing the 2011 Scottish election.

Ken Macintosh, MSP for Eastwood, launched his leadership bid last week with a pledge to put jobs, the economy and education first.

He said Scottish Labour needed to look to the future and get better at listening to its own members.

Launching his campaign, Glasgow South MP Tom Harris said he could help the party recover from its election defeat.

He said he had shown leadership by declaring his interest in the post at a time when there was "precious little debate" within Labour about how to go forward.

Ms Lamont is expected to officially launch her campaign at Stirling University on Monday.

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