North-east MSP Richard Baker announced last night he has secured enough nominations to go forward as a candidate to be Scottish Labour deputy leader.
Candidates must secure achieve at least 15% of support from the elected parliamentary group – which includes MSPs, Labour’s sole Scottish MP Ian Murray and MEPs – or 15% of Scottish Labour councillors.
Other candidates for the post are Cowdenbeath MSP Alex Rowley and Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson.
Mr Baker said his nomination was supported by nine parliamentarians as well as councillors.
“I am delighted to have secured the required nominations to go forward as a candidate for deputy leader, and to have received support from councillors and MSPs from across Scotland,” he said.
“I now look forward to engaging with members in the debate over how we can reform our party and win again in Scotland. We need to be confident in our values, united as a movement and show the people of Scotland we are ambitious for the future of our country.”
Both Mr Baker and Mr Rowley said they will not accept an automatic place on the top of the party’s regional list if they win.
Mr Baker that the issue over whether the deputy leader should receive an automatic place would e a distraction from the debate over what role the deputy should have.
“I appreciate the logic of the decision of the Scottish executive and believe it is sensible for the leader to be top of the regional list,” he said.
“But for my own part I would not accept an automatic place at the top of the north-east list. I am happy to make my case to my local members to be in that position as I have done before.”
Mr Rowley said Scottish Labour needs to become more autonomous to reflect the changing nature of Scotland.
“We cannot ignore this reality but to be clear I am not calling for independence from Labour at a UK level. I believe we need a new partnership with the rest of the UK party,” he said.
“The starting position of a vibrant and confident Scotland cannot be framed around what powers come to Scotland, powers in Scotland should be the default and the debate should ask what powers remain in Westminster where pooled and shared resources are best reserved.
“This is the key message I am taking forward in this campaign.”