Scotland politics

Lesley Laird stands down as Scottish Labour deputy

Lesley Laird Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Lesley Laird is one of six Scottish Labour MPs who will not be returning to the Commons

Scottish Labour's deputy leader Lesley Laird is standing down after losing her seat at Westminster.

Ms Laird took Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath from the SNP in 2017 with a majority of just 259 votes.

But last week she became one of six Scottish Labour MPs who will not be returning to the Commons.

Ms Laird lost her seat to Neale Hanvey, who was suspended by the SNP after he posted anti-Semitic comments on social media.

Mr Hanvey, who won by 1,243 votes, will sit as an independent MP until a disciplinary process concludes.

Ms Laird said: "It has been an honour to serve as deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party, the party that I love.

"The people of Scotland and the wider UK deserve better than they got on Thursday night.

"I am heartbroken for those in our communities that will once again be left to bear the brunt of a cruel Tory government."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jeremy Corbyn joined Lesley Laird at a rally for jobs in Fife earlier this year

The former MP thanked her staff and campaigners.

Looking to the future, she said: "I would urge a period of calm reflection and some kindness towards each other.

"Because if we are to convince people of our values and principles then first we must demonstrate them not just in our words but more importantly in our behaviour and actions towards each other."

Mrs Laird said she had always respected the party's leader, even when they were not her choice.

Commenting on the backlash faced by Jeremy Corbyn since Thursday's election she added: "Sadly there is now a culture where for some people in our party washing our differences in public via the media has become a far too regular self promotional or destabilising tool.

"It's a behaviour that upsets our members and undermines all the good work our staff and activists do. It needs to stop."

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