No confidence vote in Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard withdrawn

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Richard LeonardImage copyright PA Media

A motion of no confidence in the Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has been withdrawn.

Mr Leonard had been expected to face a vote at a meeting of the party’s governing body on Saturday.

The motion was submitted after four Labour MSPs called for his resignation last week, citing poor election results and polling under his command.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Leonard said it was time to end “internal plotting”.

And he called for “unity not division” within the party.

“It’s time for Scottish Labour to stand together and to stand with the Scottish people at a time when risks caused by pandemic are rising again and when the economy is on the edge of a deep recession with jobs and livelihoods in peril,” he said.

“There must be an end to the internal plotting and we must unite to hold the Scottish government to account and to offer a real alternative.

“I firmly believe that I am the best person to lead us into next year’s elections with a plan for jobs and real economic and social transformation which I know is shared by Keir Starmer.

“I have listened to the concerns expressed about me, I will treat those with respect and humility, and I will fight with every ounce of my being to improve the fortunes of the party in the run up to next year’s election.”

The motion was withdrawn after being discussed at the the party’s Scottish Executive Committee (SEC).

The committee is made up of elected representatives as well as trade union officials and representatives of the party’s grassroots membership.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard was a close ally of former UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Mr Leonard, who was a close ally of former UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, still enjoys the support of many on the left of the party.

But his critics point to the party’s dismal opinion poll ratings as proof that change is needed.

Opinion polls suggest Scottish Labour is trailing a distant third behind the SNP and Scottish Conservatives ahead of the election next May.

Scottish Labour is currently the third largest in the Scottish Parliament, behind the SNP and Conservatives, and lost all but one of its MPs in last year’s general election.

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