The General Secretary of Scottish Labour has stood down unexpectedly from his position at the top of the party.
Colin Smyth will relinquish his post, which he has held since 2008, at the party’s conference in October.
Mr Smyth’s departure comes after Rami Okasha, the party’s head of strategy, communications, and policy, was placed “on leave” amidst media speculation about a “turf war” between the party’s Edinburgh-based leadership and its Glasgow-based headquarters at John Smith House.
Mr Smyth said: "Working with the members and the staff of the Scottish Labour Party is a real privilege. However, after successfully being re-elected as councillor in May, I decided to inform Johann that I wanted to take on new challenges that would give me more time to focus on that role. Having just got married and moved to a new home in Dumfries, I was keen to make that move now, before the demands of the rollercoaster of election campaigns starts again.
"There have been many highs in my time with the party, including helping deliver by election and General Election victories and the recent local elections has shown that Scottish Labour is beginning the fight back after the disappointment of the last Scottish parliamentary elections.”
Mr Smyth said he continued to back the party’s Scottish leader Johann Lamont, adding: "I fully support Johann in the task of rebuilding the Scottish Labour Party and will serve that cause in any way I am asked to. I wish her and all my colleagues well. This may be the end of my time as General Secretary but it is not the end of my commitment to the Scottish Labour Party."
Ms Lamont said: "Colin Smyth has been and remains a dedicated servant of the Scottish Labour Party. I, on behalf of all the party, thank him for all he has done. I understand his reasons for deciding to move on but we will miss him in John Smith House.
"He has served the party well and I am delighted that he will continue to serve the party as a councillor in Dumfries, and, I am sure, in any other role the party calls upon him to fulfil in the future."
Scottish Labour announced plans to restructure the party following its second consecutive defeat in the Holyrood elections at the hands of the SNP. The changes were aimed at devolving more power from the UK Labour Party's headquarters in London to the Scottish leadership in the Scottish Parliament.
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