Scotland politics

Macintosh: Dugdale 'too inexperienced' for Scottish Labour leadership

Ken Macintosh and kezia dugdale Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Macintosh and Ms Dugdale are expected to be the only two candidate for the Scottish Labour leadership

One of the two candidates for the Scottish Labour leadership has claimed his opponent lacks the experience needed for the job.

Ken Macintosh said he thought Kezia Dugdale - who is 20 years younger than him - was a "lovely person".

But he said Ms Dugdale was "just not experienced enough yet" to lead the party.

The leadership contest was sparked by the formal resignation of Jim Murphy on Saturday.

Mr Murphy had only been in the job since December, but announced he would be standing down in the wake of his party's crushing defeat at the hands of the SNP in May's general election, which left Labour with just one MP in Scotland.

Ms Dugdale, 33, had been Mr Murphy's deputy and is widely seen as being the favourite to succeed him.

'Very able'

But 53-year-old Mr Macintosh, the party's social justice spokesman who also stood for the leadership in 2011, insisted he was confident of victory in what appears likely to be a two-horse race.

He told the BBC's Sunday Politics Scotland programme: "As it happens, I actually think Kezia is a fantastic person, very able, very articulate, a lovely person.

"I like her a lot and was one of her big supporters for deputy leader. It's just that she is just not experienced enough yet."

Mr Macintosh, who has been an MSP since the Scottish Parliament was reconvened in 1999, said he believed his campaign would be bolstered by the move to one member, one vote, and that he would not be standing if he did not think he could win.

And he dismissed suggestions that his politics are too close to Mr Murphy's, who represented the East Renfrewshire seat at Westminster - which has the same boundaries as Mr Macintosh's Eastwood seat at Holyrood - until losing it to the SNP in May.

'Power politics'

He said: "The reason that Jim and I worked so closely together is that actually we were opposites, we were sort of Yin and Yang as it were.

"My kind of politics is entirely different. I have got no interest in Westminster and never have done. I'm not interested in that kind of power politics whatsoever."

Mr Murphy tabled a series of reforms for Scottish Labour ahead of his departure, including the move to one member, one vote which has been interpreted as an attempt to weaken the influence of the unions in Labour's hierarchy.

Mr Macintosh said: "Last time (in 2011), I won more than 50% of the members' vote, and if we had had one person, one vote back then I think I would have won."

Ms Dugdale was elected as Mr Murphy's deputy in December after four years as an MSP for the Lothians and many more as a party activist and election co-ordinator.

Announcing her intention to stand for the leadership last month, she said transforming Scotland's education system to make it fairer for all would be her key priority.

She said she wanted to transform Scottish Labour "for the good of my country" and to "find a way of regaining the trust of the people of Scotland."

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