Iain Gray calls for more Labour Party influence on NEC

Image caption, Iain Gray has put his proposal to Labour leadership contenders

Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray has said he wants greater influence in the UK party, after calling for a place on its ruling body.

Mr Gray told BBC Scotland the time had come to give Labour's Holyrood leader a seat on the national executive committee to "bind" the party together.

He said his suggestion had met with a "positive response" from the UK Labour leadership contenders.

Labour is fighting to regain power in next year's Scottish elections.

And despite the party losing power at Westminster, Labour's vote held up in Scotland, with the party winning 41 out of 59 seats.

'Learn lessons'

Mr Gray has now taken the opportunity to put forward his proposal, as the party seeks a successor to Gordon Brown.

The Scottish Labour leader told BBC Scotland's Politics Show: "I'm not backing anybody in the leadership, but what I'm saying to all of the leadership contenders is that I believe the time has come to look at the structures of the Labour party across the United Kingdom to see if we can make them work better for us and make even more effective.

"One particular thing I've said already to the leadership contenders is that I want to have a place on the national executive committee of the Labour party."

Mr Gray argued the Welsh Labour leader should have similar influence, adding: "The time has come to bind the Labour party together in a way which reflects the devolved country which we created after 1997.

"There are lessons that we can learn and lessons that we can provide for the Labour party as a whole."

Contenders for the Labour leadership include former foreign secretary David Miliband, his brother Ed and other former ministers, Ed Balls and Andy Burnham.

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