Kezia Dugdale has stepped down as leader of the Scottish Labour party, saying that it is time to “pass on the baton.”
She is leaving with immediate effect, potentially as early as tomorrow, some sources report.
The Lothians MSP has said she will continue to serve in the Scottish parliament, but that she is leaving with her “head held high” for a new leader with “fresh energy, drive and a new mandate.”
She says she wants to give her successor the “space and time” to prepare for the next round of Holyrood elections, in 2021.
“I have thought long and hard about this. I care deeply about the Labour Party – I love it and I have devoted my adult life to serving it in a number of different capacities,” she said to the BBC in an interview.
“And I have just come to the conclusion that the best thing for it, the Labour Party, this precious, precious thing that has done so much good in our country, and indeed for me, is to pass that baton on.”
Dugdale’s deputy Alex Rowley will serve as interim leader unless he himself chooses to resign his post to contest the leadership. The potential contenders include Anas Sarwar, Jackie Baillie, Jenny Marra, Neil Findlay and James Kelly.