Yesterday, supporting nominations for the Scottish Labour Leadership closed; and on that list, for the first time ever, Young Labour’s name appears.
Changes made through Refounding Labour, and agreed on at Annual Conference 2011, have meant that Young Labour nationally now have the right to endorse leadership candidates with a supporting nomination.
There have been changes made in Scotland too. Proposals put forward by the Review of Labour in Scotland and agreed at a Special Conference of the Scottish Labour Party, mean that for the first time we will be electing a Leader and Deputy Leader of the whole
Party in Scotland. This makes these Leadership elections even more important for the Party, especially coming after our defeat in May.
This is why I am proud that Scottish Young Labour has been the first Young Labour group to use these new rights. Our membership reflects the whole Party; encompassing young people still in school, students at university, young trades unionists and young workers.
These new rights make sure that the candidates listen to what we have to say, and that we, in turn, can properly engage with the election process.
While Constituency Labour Parties, affiliated organisations, such as trades unions and Scottish Labour Students, and now Scottish Young Labour can make supporting nominations for the candidates we recommend it is important to point out that every
member will receive a ballot paper and cast their own individual vote.
Yesterday, the Scottish Young Labour committee voted to endorse Johann Lamont MSP for Leader. We recognise that Johann shares our concern about our future prospects as young people in Scotland today. Our support makes clear that Johann is the candidate
with the best vision for Scotland’s young people and Labour’s future.
Scottish Young Labour have also given their supporting nomination to Anas Sarwar MP for Deputy Leader. We are confident that Anas understands we must transform our Party and that we must rebuild and reconnect with the people of Scotland. We know that Anas has
the energy and determination that is needed to beat the Tories and the SNP.
However the race is not over yet. Now we enter the hustings and balloting stage of the elections. We are hosting our own youth hustings at our annual conference this weekend, where delegates will have the chance to put questions directly to all of the candidates.
The result of the Leader and Deputy Leader elections will be announced on 17th December. Whatever the outcome, we know that the process has been a massive step forward for our youth movement.
Helen Stephen is Chair of Scottish Young Labour