Murphy's Pledge On Policy Decisions

11 November 2014, 06:14 | Updated: 11 November 2014, 07:10

Scottish Labour leadership candidate Jim Murphy will say that decisions about policy and how the party is run will be taken in Scotland, and nowhere else, if he is elected to the top job.

The former Scottish secretary is making the claim as he outlines a series of pledges aimed at ensuring Labour "can take on the Nationalists and the Tories in every community in Scotland''.

Mr Murphy, the favourite to succeed Johann Lamont, will say the party must take more responsibility for fundraising, policy, staffing and campaign activity, when he addresses local party members in his constituency.

He is set to announce that, if elected leader, a £155,000 levy currently paid to the UK party by Scottish Labour councillors will stay in Scotland.

Currently, at least 2% of the salary of each Scottish Labour councillor is deducted and sent to the UK party to support campaigning work. But the councillors are said to have been "frustrated'' at what they believe is a lack of value for money.

Under Mr Murphy's leadership, the money would be used exclusively by the Scottish Labour Party and he has written to the UK party general secretary to outline his intentions.

In his letter to Iain McNicol, he states: "I know that this announcement will surprise many and disappoint some in other parts of the UK Labour Party but this is the right course of action for the Scottish Labour Party.''

Mr Murphy said he would announce a five-person commission, beginning work in mid-December, to recommend how to spend the money in Scotland.

The leadership contender will also pledge to set an "unprecedented'' fundraising target of £1 million by the time of the 2015 General Election.

He will further pledge:

:: To invest at least £5,000 in each Scottish and UK Parliamentary seat currently held by Scottish Labour and in key target seats.

:: To employ at least one paid organiser in every Scottish Parliament region, supporting the work of local party groups.

:: To appoint a representative of Scottish Labour councillors to the political cabinet.

:: To implement a "radical culture change'' in the way Scottish Labour campaigns.

:: To ensure that the Scottish Labour General Secretary and other party staff are hired by the Scottish Labour leader.

Mr Murphy will say: "I want the Scottish Labour Party, under my leadership, to be driving the change that Scotland needs. But before we can get behind the wheel, our party needs to reform itself. Before we can change Scotland we need to transform the Scottish Labour Party.

"We will always value our links to the UK Labour Party. Only the Labour Party, not the nationalists, can win elections at a UK level.

"But valuing those links doesn't mean we can't do things our own way.

"People should be in no doubt. If I am elected leader decisions about policy and how the Scottish Labour Party is run will be taken in Scotland, nowhere else.''

He will say Scottish Labour needs to show it puts Scotland first.

"One way of doing this is by keeping the money paid by Scottish Labour councillors in Scotland to support our campaigning work here,'' Mr Murphy will say.

"The Scottish Labour Party must be an all year round campaigning organisation, rather than just for a few weeks at election time. We should be front and centre of local campaigns to improve our communities, not just asking for votes. That's a big culture shift for our party but one that is necessary if we are to be successful over the next few years.

"We owe it to the people in Scotland who need the Scottish Labour Party to be a professional, effective and confident campaigning party. To do this we need greater resources. We need to be able to compete with nationalists funded by Lottery winners and Tories funded by deep pockets.

"If I am elected leader I will set an unprecedented target of raising #1 million to support the work of the Scottish Labour Party. I will raise more money for our party than ever before - from trade unions, businesses, individuals and by attracting more members to our party.''