Richard Leonard on a hung parliament, economic change and campaigning

LabourList editor Sienna Rodgers spotted Richard Leonard at an anti-racism rally in Glasgow over the weekend, and spoke to the Scottish Labour leader ahead of the upcoming general election.

On the campaign, Leonard said: “It’s going well. We are winning back across people who had left the Labour Party and were supporting the SNP. Many of them are coming back to us. We’ve got a long way to go, we’ve got a lot of work to do, but I’m confident that we can secure gains in Scotland in this election, which will help to secure the formation of a majority Labour government.”

He warned against speculating about deals between Labour and the SNP in the event of a minority Labour government, saying: “There are too many people talking about what happens if there’s a minority Labour government in a hung parliament and where the SNP will play a part in that. I’m determined that we secure a majority Labour government.”

Asked what has inspired voters to switch to Labour in this election, Leonard replied: “Because we’re talking about the things that concern people. It’s about the state of the National Health Service in Scotland. We’re talking about the squeeze that people have felt for the last decade, where their living standards have been eroded. We’re talking about the need to invest in our economy, and make the transformation to a greener economy and move away from the carbon-based economy.

“These are things that people understand and people want to see more democracy in the economy. They want to see a bigger save for them in their communities. So our message is about the change in the economy. Our message is, as well, about taxation and how we want to see the burden of taxation move from people’s wages on to people’s capital gains. These are the things which are really hitting home with people.”

On how LabourList readers could help Scottish Labour, the leader said: “We’ve got phonebanking, we’ve got a big social media campaign that reaches out to people. If there is anything LabourList readers and followers can do to boost the campaign in Scotland, it will not only see the return of more Scottish Labour MPs, but in turn that could secure the election of a Labour government. What a difference that would make to people.”

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