Matheson Targets Labour Deputy Role

15 June 2015, 12:38

Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson has confirmed he will stand to become deputy leader of Scottish Labour.

Mr Matheson pledged to bring a "fresh perspective" to the role as he announced his intention to seek nomination for the job.

A raft of organisational reforms agreed by the party allows councillors to stand for the deputy leadership for the first time.

Kezia Dugdale MSP submitted her resignation from the position and confirmed her intention to stand for the leadership when the party's Scottish Executive Committee (SEC) met on Saturday.

She will face competition from Eastwood MSP Ken Macintosh in the race to replace Jim Murphy, who has formally stepped down from the top job.

Mr Matheson, who was elected leader of Glasgow City Council in 2010, said he offered a "distinct combination of experience and change" as he threw his hat in the ring to be the victor's deputy.

He cited achievements in Glasgow including Labour's victory at the 2012 local government elections under his leadership, the success of the "best-ever" 2014 Commonwealth Games and the agreement of the largest City Deal in the UK.

Mr Matheson said: "The Scottish Labour Party needs to stop feeling sorry for itself and instead focus on the concerns of the people of Scotland.

"I have successfully led Scotland's largest city for over five years. But because I'm not an MSP I offer a fresh perspective on the national political scene.

"It is when times are tough that mettle is shown. I am under no illusions as to the challenges ahead for the Scottish Labour Party but I'm up for the fight because I believe in Labour values.

"I welcome the opportunity of the leadership campaign to discuss with party members and wider society the changes the Labour Party needs to make if we are to regain trust.

"I hope to serve the people of Glasgow and Scotland in this new role, and support the next leader of the Scottish Labour Party."

Labour's education spokesman Iain Gray MSP has been appointed acting leader by the SEC until a new leader is elected.

Nominations for the election of a new leader and deputy leader will close on Friday June 19, with the results announced on Saturday August 15.