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North-east MSP Richard Baker enters Scottish Labour deputy leadership contest

North-east MSP Richard Baker has secured enough nominations to be an official candidate in the Scottish Labour deputy leadership contest.
North-east MSP Richard Baker has secured enough nominations to be an official candidate in the Scottish Labour deputy leadership contest.

North-east MSP Richard Baker hopes to be the next deputy leader of the Scottish Labour party.

He threw his hat into the ring as Kezia Dugdale resigned from the post so she could stand for leader as nominations officially opened.

Mr Baker, 41, will find himself up against two other candidates: Cowdenbeath MSP Alex Rowley and Glasgow Council leader George Matheson, who is able stand following a change in the rules letter the deputy leader come from within local government.

Mr Baker said: “This is a going to be a very important choice for Scottish Labour. We have a huge challenge ahead of us and I want to play my part in that challenge.

“It is also vital that Labour speak to the whole country. As a north-east MSP I believe it is important we speak to every part of Scotland and I will push for greater devolution not just for Scotland but the country as a whole.”

It emerged yesterday that Ms Dugdale has the support of almost three-quarters of Scottish Labour parliamentarians – 27 MSPs as well as the party’s only Scottish MP Ian Murray and two MEPs David Martin and Catherine Stihler.

As nominations opened she secured the backing from six more MSPs including party finance spokeswoman Jackie Baillie, culture spokeswoman (and Richard Baker’s wife) Claire Baker, chief whip Neil Bibby and parliamentary business manager James Kelly.

Ms Dugdale said: “We know politics in Scotland has changed fundamentally and the Scottish Labour Party have only one chance to get it right.

“But this leadership election isn’t just about transforming Scottish Labour, it is about stepping up and regaining the trust of the people of Scotland.”

The only other contestant for the leadership post vacated by Jim Murphy after Labour’s election drubbing is Eastwood MSP Ken Macintosh.

He said: “This is our moment to show our resilience, to reclaim our party and to show Scotland we have listened to the very loud message that they sent us in May, and at previous Scottish elections too.”

Nominations for the UK party leadership closed yesterday with Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper, shadow health minister Liz Kendall and Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn contesting the post.

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