Election 2019: Labour to hold 'listening exercise' after defeat

image captionScottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said the party would carry out a public "listening exercise"

Scottish Labour officials are to hold a public "listening exercise" in the wake of a dismal election result which left them with only one MP north of the border.

Richard Leonard, the Scottish Labour leader, said they wanted to understand why they suffered a "profound defeat".

It came as a leading Labour councillor used Twitter to call for a second independence referendum.

Cosla president Alison Evison said the move would "strengthen" democracy.

Mr Leonard said: "We will be conducting a swift evidence-based review of the election campaign and result in order to chart our way forward.

"We will lead a public engagement campaign to establish why voters, who are clearly still desperate for change, no longer feel that Scottish Labour is the vehicle for the realisation of that change."

The party must develop a "clear constitutional offer" that wins back the confidence of voters, Mr Leonard said.

One Labour MP in Scotland

It was a view echoed by Alex Rowley, Mid Scotland and Fife Labour MSP, who said his party has "failed to answer the question" when it comes to Scotland's" future since the 2014 independence referendum.

Speaking to BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland, he said Labour "cannot continue to sit in the middle of the road on this issue" but cautioned against the idea of a referendum in 2020 while Brexit negotiations are still under way.

He said: "Whilst we are in the midst of a Brexit crisis it would be difficult to see what you would actually be asking people to vote for."

Six Scottish Labour MPs lost their seat after Thursday's election, including Shadow Scottish Secretary Lesley Laird, leaving the party with only one MP in Scotland.

Mr Corbyn has said he would not contend another election as leader but he would not "walk away" until a successor is elected.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionIan Murray was the only Labour MP to keep his seat in Scotland

Call for indyref2 to 'strengthen democracy'

Alison Evison, the president of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) and a Labour councillor in Aberdeenshire, has called for a change of direction.

In a post on Twitter, she said democracy must be "at the core of all we do".

"Recently it has become fragile and we must strengthen it again," she added.

"We can strengthen it by enabling the voice of Scotland to be heard through its formal processes and that must mean a referendum on independence."

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Nicola Sturgeon responded, saying "Scottish Labour would do well to listen to principled and sensible voices like [Alison Evison's]".

'A dismal, disastrous night'

Earlier Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland, Scottish Labour's Neil Finlay MSP told BBC Radio Scotland that a "combination of factors" including Brexit and discussions over indyref2 led to "a dismal, disastrous night" for his party, but he defended Jeremy Corbyn.

The Holyrood backbencher said there was "no rush" to replace Jeremy Corbyn, and said a leadership election would "take time" to allow the party to have an internal debate about who should be the next leader.

For a nationwide breakdown of results, see our results page, which will be updated throughout the night.

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