Scotland politics

Dugdale says Corbyn victory shows 'politics has changed'

Jeremy Corbyn Image copyright AP

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has said Jeremy Corbyn's election as UK leader shows "politics has changed".

Congratulating him on his win, she said Labour had listened to people's desire for "radical change and straight talk".

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she hoped to work with Mr Corbyn in a "progressive alliance against Tory austerity".

But Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said Labour had given up on being in government.

Mr Corbyn won a decisive victory over his three rivals in the UK Labour leadership contest, taking 59.5% of the votes cast.

In his victory speech he promised to campaign in Scotland for those "great Labour traditions".

'Radical policies'

Ms Dugdale said she welcomed his victory and looked forward to working with Mr Corbyn.

She said: "Today shows politics has changed. People are calling for radical change and straight talk.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Kezia Dugdale said she looked forward to working with Mr Corbyn

"Jeremy's election shows that the party has listened to that call, and I look forward to working with him and meeting him to discuss his priorities later today."

She added: "I have already said that I want people to take another look at the Labour Party. I want to say that again today. I hope that those who were lost to us in the past will start to listen again as both Jeremy and I put forward radical policies that we hope will win back support for Labour.

"We've now got the chance for a fresh start and new leadership in both Scotland and across the UK. I've said I want my leadership to be about shaking up the establishment in Scotland, and Jeremy wants to do the same across the UK.

"What people want is real change - not just in their politics, but in their lives. Today offers the chance for that change."

First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon also offered her congratulations to Mr Corbyn, saying she hoped the SNP could "work constructively with him in a progressive alliance against Tory austerity".

"We also call on him to give an early commitment that Labour MPs will join the SNP in voting against the £100bn renewal of Trident," she said.

"However, the reality today is that, at a time when the country needs strong opposition to the Tories, Jeremy Corbyn leads a deeply, and very bitterly, divided party."

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Media captionFirst Minister Nicola Sturgeon: "Labour have to demonstrate that they've got a credible chance of beating the Tories in England"

Ms Sturgeon added: "Indeed, if Labour cannot quickly demonstrate that they have a credible chance of winning the next UK general election, many more people in Scotland are likely to conclude that independence is the only alternative to continued Tory government.

"In the meantime, it is clearer than ever that the only credible and united opposition to the Tories, north and south of the border, is the SNP."

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said many of Mr Corbyn's Labour colleagues would "despair at his appointment".

"Mr Corbyn has made clear that, under his leadership, Labour will flee the centre ground for a hard-left comfort zone which promotes policies of the 1970s," she said.

"Even Andy Burnham has warned that by electing Jeremy Corbyn, the voting public will conclude that Labour has given up on being in government - and he's right.

"This is especially true in Scotland where Jeremy Corbyn's flirtation with the SNP will worry all two million of our country's 'No' voters.

"He refused to fight for our United Kingdom during the referendum because, in his own words, he was 'doing stuff' in London instead."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jeremy Corbyn started off the campaign as a 200-1 outsider but won a decisive victory

She added: "We need a strong Labour party to stand behind the UK. So I am urging Mr Corbyn to come to Scotland this week and state unequivocally that he'll do no deals with the SNP and will always fight to keep our United Kingdom together."

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: "Jeremy Corbyn's leadership signals a return to the damaging see-saw politics of the past.

"With a Conservative Party in government screeching further to the right and a Labour opposition returning to the extreme left-wing politics of the 1970s, Britain needs a serious, responsible alternative now more than ever."

Patrick Harvie, Scottish Green co-convener, predicted "those who hold power behind the scenes within Labour will do anything to stop the party from returning to its roots".

"For all his merits, Jeremy Corbyn has had little to say about how he would support a stronger voice for Scotland and Labour north of the border is struggling to reconnect with the voters it lost during its cynical campaign against independence," he said.

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