The Scottish Labour Party, Time for change

Following the Scottish Parliament elections in May, I was tasked, along with my colleague Jim Murphy MP, with conducting a thorough review of the Labour Party in Scotland.

Last weekend, the latest package of reforms recommended by the review received the unanamous support of the Party’s Scottish Executive Committee and will now be debated at UK and Scottish Party conferences.

The moves will, if agreed, mean the full devolution of the Scottish Labour Party and will:

  • create, for the first time, an elected Leader of the Scottish Labour Party
  • open that position to all Labour parliamentarians elected in Scotland, provided they commit to seek election as an MSP and First Minister
  • fully devolve 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
  • begin the process of restructuring local parties in Scotland on the basis of Scottish Parliament seats, not Westminster seats
  • establish a political strategy board 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
  • establish a new political base in Edinburgh

Last May’s result showed us that the people of Scotland have lost faith with us because we lost connection with them.  Scotland has changed and now it’s time for Scottish Labour to change too.

These latest reforms represent the most significant changes to the Scottish Labour Party structure in 90 years and mark a fresh start for the party.  The proposals are the result of months of work listening to the views of party members, representatives and wider views of civic Scotland.

Labour devolved Scotland when we set up the Scottish Parliament in 1999, and we are proud of that.   Labour used that Scottish Parliament to deliver important reforms for Scotland, but we didn’t reform ourselves.   Now we need to make devolution a reality within our party too.  This is a radical package of changes to beef up the role of the Scottish Leader and put us on the path to winning.  

To find out more about these latest proposals you can read an article I wrote for the Labour Hame website here.  You can also watch an interview I did last night on Newsnight Scotland here.