Scottish Labour Leader Quits

Johann Lamont

Scottish Labour Party  leader Johann Lamont quit after accusing the party leadership of treating Scotland as a “branch office”, BBC reported.Ms Lamont’s deputy, Anas Sarwar MP, 3, will take over the leadership on a temporary basis. Anas is son of Punjab governor and former Labour politician Mohammed Sarwar.

Johann Lamont
Johann Lamont

Labour’s tally of 41 Scottish MPs at risk from a strong SNP challenge at next year’s general election in May 2015.

Ms Lamont in her resignation accused some Labour MPs as “dinosaurs” who failed to recognise that “Scotland has changed forever” after September’s referendum.

BBC Scotland reports that Ms Lamont, who was elected leader in December 2011, has been unhappy for some time about the direction of party strategy. She is said to have become disillusioned with internal criticism of her leadership and interference by the UK Labour party in the running of Scottish Labour.

Ms Lamont wanted more autonomy for the party in Scotland and significant new powers for the Scottish Parliament. But she felt both of those objectives were being thwarted by some of her Westminster colleagues, and accused them of putting their own interests ahead of those of Scotland.

She was also unhappy that a senior official of the Scottish party – general secretary Ian Price – was to be removed from office without her being consulted.

BBC Scotland correspondent James Cook said the removal of Mr Price appears to have been the “final straw”.

BBC correspondent added that Ms Lamont’s resignation also highlights the potential harm the Scottish political situation could do to UK Labour Party leader Ed Miliband’s prospects of becoming prime minister.

Anas Sarwar MP
Anas Sarwar MP

Ms Lamont’s deputy, Anas Sarwar MP, will take over the leadership on a temporary basis. An MSP will also be chosen to stand in for Ms Lamont at Holyrood until a successor is elected. Whoever replaces Ms Lamont will become Scottish Labour’s seventh leader since the Scottish Parliament was established 15 years ago.

Nicola Gathers Momentum

In another development, Scottish Nationalist Party leader and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said her tour of Scotland would begin on 29 October in Edinburgh and end on 7 December in Aberdeen.

The series of rallies – which includes a stop-off in November at Glasgow’s 12,000-capacity SSE Hydro – are aimed at the 50,000 new members the SNP has signed up since last month’s referendum.

“Our new members bring a new energy and dynamism – and not just to the SNP,” Ms Sturgeon said,” adding: “They are also a potent force who can help Scotland progress as a country.

“I am looking forward to meeting as many of our new recruits as possible and sharing with them my vision for the future.”