Scottish Labour to announce party’s new leader on Saturday

Monica Lennon and Anas Sarwar are both hoping to succeed Richard Leonard as Scottish Labour leader.

Scottish Labour to announce party’s new leader on Saturday Getty ImagesGetty Images

Scottish Labour will formally announce the party’s new leader on Saturday.

The result of the contest between Central Scotland MSP Monica Lennon and Glasgow MSP Anas Sarwar is scheduled to be announced at 11am.

The winner will succeed Richard Leonard, who stood down as Scottish Labour leader with immediate effect last month.

His departure left the party hunting for its fifth leader in the last seven years.

The new leader will not be in for an easy start – with Holyrood elections taking place in May they will have to hit the ground running.

While Labour dominated Scottish politics when the devolved parliament was first set up in 1999, the party has seen its support fall away in more recent years.

A poll conducted by Ipsos MORI for STV News this week projected the SNP will win 72 of the 129 seats – nine more than now and giving them a majority of 15.

It also showed the Scottish Conservatives would be the second-biggest party on 26 seats, with Scottish Labour on 17, the Scottish Greens on nine and the Scottish Liberal Democrats on five.

Lennon tweeted on Friday afternoon: “I want to thank Anas Sarwar and his team for making this a positive debate.

“My own team of volunteers have been awesome. I’m grateful to everyone who has taken part and taken an interest.”

Sarwar – who stood unsuccessfully for the position in 2017 – said he was proud of the campaigns that both candidates ran.

He said: “Thank you to everyone who supported and got involved in our campaign to rebuild our party.

“Our members help to motivate and inspire me every day. I’m proud that both Monica and I ran positive campaigns which have demonstrated the best of our party.

“Our task now is to demonstrate the best of our party to the country. Whatever the final result, I know we’ll work together to rebuild Scottish Labour so that we have the opportunity to rebuild Scotland.”

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