Scotland politics

Dugdale launches Scottish Labour leadership campaign

Kezia dugdale

Kezia Dugdale has launched her campaign to become the new leader of Scottish Labour with a pledge to "shake things up".

The Lothians MSP and former deputy leader of the party said she would "stand up to vested interests".

She is going up against Eastwood MSP Ken Macintosh, who launched his campaign on Friday.

Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson and MSPs Alex Rowley and Richard Baker are standing as deputy.

Ms Dugdale said: "Now more than ever, Scotland needs a voice that will stand up to the vested interests.

"Scotland needs a strong opposition that asks tough questions, not a one-party state where every institution and every cause is linked to just one political party.

"That wouldn't be good for Scotland. People need a champion against the cosy consensus in Scottish politics."

School reform

Ms Dugdale also argued that there was a need to "think outside the box" when it came to reforming Scotland's state schools.

She also said she would end the charitable status of private schools, saying it was a "question of fairness".

She told BBC Scotland: "Twenty-four per cent of people here in Edinburgh go to private schools and I don't begrudge any parent that wants the best for their children.

"But the reality is that private schools get charitable status, they get tax relief because of that status, and at a time when state schools are really struggling for resources, when teachers are at their wit's end, I think this is fundamentally a question of fairness."

On state education, she said: "Education is everything. It can lift people out of poverty, help them live a healthy lifestyle and open up doors that would otherwise remain shut.

"If we are to compete with the big economies around the world in future then we need people finishing school with the skills they need to get on."

She added: "There can be no sacred cows in Scottish state education. The inequality is too ingrained, the problems too deep to tip-toe around vested interests. It's time to be bold and radical."

Image caption Council leader Gordon Matheson and MSPs Alex Rowley and Richard Baker are standing for the deputy leader post

The leadership contest was sparked by the resignation of Jim Murphy after Labour lost all but one of its 41 seats in Scotland in May's general election.

In a change from previous leadership contests, it will be a one member one vote ballot, while non-members can also register as supporters for £3, allowing them to take part.

Ms Dugdale is the favourite to win, despite only entering the Scottish Parliament in 2011.

At his launch, Mr Macintosh promised to shake up the party organisation, including moving the headquarters from Glasgow to Edinburgh.

He said Scotland must be more accountable and responsive to the needs and wants of Scottish people.

And he said he would begin negotiations with the new national Labour leadership to establish a formal relationship with Scottish Labour that recognised its autonomous role within the UK party.

Who is standing?
Scottish Labour leader Scottish Deputy leader
Kezia Dugdale, Lothian MSP Gordon Matheson, Glasgow City Council leader
Ken Macintosh, Eastwood MSP Alex Rowley, Cowdenbeath MSP
Richard Baker, North East MSP

Three candidates are standing for the deputy leadership role: Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson and MSPs Alex Rowley and Richard Baker.

The hustings period begins on 22 June and the result will be announced on 15 August.

Party hustings

Following changes pushed through by Mr Murphy before his departure as leader, the election for both the leader and deputy leader will be based on one-member-one-vote.

All the contestants will take part in a series of hustings at four venues:

  • Edinburgh - Monday 22 June
  • Glasgow - Wednesday 24 June
  • Aberdeen - Friday 26 June
  • Dundee - Monday 29 June

The results of the two contests will be announced at a special gathering on Saturday 15 August.

Leadership timetable

15 June - Nominations open for leader and deputy leader

19 June (12 noon) - Nominations close

19 June (17:00) - Supporting nominations open

22 June - Hustings period opens

13 July - Last date to join as member, affiliated supporter, or registered supporter in order to vote in the leadership ballot

10 July (12 noon) - Supporting nominations close

20 July - Ballot opens

14 August - Ballot closes

15 August - Result announced

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