Motion of no confidence in Scottish Labour leader withdrawn

The Scottish Executive Committee was due to discuss the motion on Saturday morning.

A motion to unseat Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has failed after it was withdrawn at a meeting of the party’s governing body.

The Scottish Executive Committee (SEC) had been due to discuss the motion on Saturday morning.

Edinburgh councillor Scott Arthur, a member of the party’s SEC, tweeted: “Richard Leonard has retained the support of the SEC and will take us into the Holyrood 2021 election.”

It comes after four of Leonard’s team called on him to resign, including two members of his frontbench team.

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James Kelly and Mark Griffin quit their respective finance and social security briefs in protest at Leonard’s leadership, while MSPs Jenny Marra and Daniel Johnson also said the Scottish Labour leader should go.

However, Leonard looks to have survived calls to step down ahead of the Scottish elections in May.

In a statement, Leonard said: “It’s time for Scottish Labour to stand together and to stand with the Scottish people at a time when risks caused by the pandemic are rising again and when the economy is on the edge of a deep recession with jobs and livelihoods in peril.

“There must be an end to the internal plotting and we must unite to hold the Scottish Government to account and to offer a real alternative.”

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He added: “I firmly believe that I am the best person to lead us into next year’s elections with a plan for jobs and real economic and social transformation which I know is shared by Keir Starmer.

“I have listened to the concerns expressed about me, I will treat those with respect and humility, and I will fight with every ounce of my being to improve the fortunes of the party in the run-up to next year’s election.

“We need unity not division.”