Scottish Labour MPs could have the chance to be elected the leader of the Scottish Labour Party, under proposals put forward to reform the Scottish Party by Jim Murphy and Sarah Boyack – but they must “commit to seek election as an MSP and First Minister”. Other planned changes include:
- creating, for the first time, an elected Leader of the Scottish Labour Party
- fully devolving the Scottish Labour Party in all Scottish matters, including the rules for the Scottish Leadership election, local government processes and selections, and Scottish parliament selections
- beginning the process of restructuring local parties in Scotland on the basis of Scottish Parliament seats, not Westminster seats
- establishing a political strategy board, meeting weekly, to develop and co-ordinate political strategy with the Leader, Shadow Secretary of State, the leader of the COSLA Labour Group, the party chair, and the Scottish General Secretary
- establishing a new political base in Edinburgh
The proposals were endorsed unanimously by the Scottish Labour SEC, and will now go to Labour’s NEC to be discussed further. However it seems unlikely that proposals which have received such support in Scotland could be rejected by the UK-wide party.
These changes will only serve to increase speculation that a Labour MP – rather than a Labour MSP – could be Labour’s next leader in Scotland. Tom Harris MP has already put his name forward, but other prominent Scottish Labour MPs such as Jim Murphy and Douglas Alexander have also been named as potential leaders of the party north of the border.
However such an arrangement is entirely uncontroversial, not least because it would leave Labour’s leader in the Scottish parliament without the influence that comes with being party leader – which would certainly provide ammunition for the SNP.
We’ll bring you more news on the Scottish Party review later this week as further details emerge.