Murphy In Labour Cabinet Shake-Up

16 December 2014, 10:28

Scottish Labour's new leader Jim Murphy has said he plans to move every single member of his shadow cabinet in a reshuffle.

Mr Murphy said the changes he will announce today will signal a fresh start for the Scottish Labour party.

Yesterday he announced plans to plans to rewrite the party's constitution to state that decisions about Scotland will be made in Scotland.

The MP for East Renfrewshire said he will ask members to agree to a new "clause four'' at the party's conference in March.

In his first major speech after being elected as leader, he said the move would represent the "refounding and the rebirth of our Scottish Labour Party''.

Later he said he also plans big changes in the shadow cabinet.

He told STV Scotland Tonight: "There's going to be some really big changes. Every single person in their current cabinet role will be changed. Everyone in my team will be on the move.

"It's never been done before I think. It's probably a real innovation in politics, I just think the Scottish Labour party has to change, it has to be a fresh start and that's what I'll signal with the reshuffle.''

Mr Murphy said he had not consulted Westminster colleagues about his plans for the constitution, adding that he would no longer seek permission or agreement on decisions concerning Scottish Labour.

His predecessor Johann Lamont resigned, saying Labour's leadership south of the border treated the party in Scotland as a "branch office''.

A draft constitution will be published for discussion in the new year, Mr Murphy told supporters.

Speaking at the event in Glasgow yesterday he described his plans as "a new statement of purpose for a new generation in the Scottish Labour Party''.

Historically, clause four committed Labour to a programme of nationalisation, but it was rewritten before Tony Blair's 1997 election win.

"This is a clause four moment for a different time and a different purpose from the reforms of the 1990s,'' Mr Murphy said.

"Tony Blair rewrote clause four of UK Labour to bring us closer to the centre of politics. I want to rewrite 'clause four' of Scottish Labour to bring us closer to the centre of Scottish life.''

He said the new constitution will "make it clear that we are both a democratic socialist party and a patriotic party''.

"We are a socialist party, yes, but we recognise that our political faith grew out of something deeper which is ingrained in our Scottish character,'' he said.

He continued: "We will declare ourselves a party that represents Scotland first and where, as Scots, we work with others to achieve the potential of all.

"We will set in stone the total devolution of policy-making in devolved areas. Policy in future will be made in Scotland, for Scotland, by our Scottish party, putting the interests of the Scottish people above all else.''

The constitution will also commit to a "permanent and powerful'' Scottish Parliament, and the party's "historic mission for a more equal and fairer society''.