Kezia Dugdale quits as Scottish Labour leader – BBC News

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Media caption Kezia Dugdale stated she was entrusting to her “head held high”

Kezia Dugdale has actually resigned as leader of Scottish Labour, stating it is time to “hand down the baton” to another person.

The Lothians MSP has actually formerly criticised UK leader Jeremy Corbyn, and has actually dealt with criticism from left-wing members of her own celebration.

She insisted she was leaving the celebration in a better state than she had actually discovered it.

But she stated a brand-new leader was required with “fresh energy, drive and a brand-new required”.

Ms Dugdale is the 3rd Scottish Labour leader to have actually resigned because the 2014 self-reliance referendum, with predecessors Johann Lamont and Jim Murphy both having stood down.

She stated she wished to offer her follower the “area and time” to get ready for the next Scottish Parliament election in 2021.

And she highly rejected recommendations that she was leaving now in order to prevent being pressed out by fans of Mr Corbyn.

In a special interview with BBC Scotland’s political editor, Brian Taylor, she stated she had actually taken control of the management when the celebration was “on its knees” in Scotland.

Ms Dugdale, who is entrusting instant impact, stated she had actually dedicated “every waking minute of my life” to enhancing Labour’s fortunes in Scotland, with a great deal of development being made and the celebration now all set for somebody else to take it on the next phase of its journey.

‘Precious thing’

She included: “I have actually believed long and hard about this. I care deeply about the Labour Party – I enjoy it and I have actually dedicated my adult life to serving it in a variety of various capabilities.

“And I have actually simply concerned the conclusion that the very best thing for it, the Labour Party, this valuable, valuable thing that has actually done so much great in our nation, and undoubtedly for me, is to pass that baton on.”

Mr Corbyn thanked Ms Dugdale for “the essential function she has actually played in restoring the celebration in Scotland”.

“Kezia ended up being Scottish leader at one of the most hard times in the history of the Scottish Labour Party, and the celebration’s revival is now completely under method, with 6 brand-new MPs and a lot more to come,” he stated.

“I wish to thank Kez for her vigorous service to our celebration and motion.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ms Dugdale and Mr Corbyn appeared together in Glasgow recently

Ms Dugdale’s deputy, Alex Rowley, has actually ended up being interim leader, with Scottish Labour’s executive committee due to fulfill on Saturday 9 September to concur the schedule and procedure for a management election.

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband tweeted that Ms Dugdale had actually offered her “body and soul to leading Scottish Labour”.

He included: “Thank You. You should have to obtain your life back. Delight in.”

SNP leader and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was amongst political competitors to commemorate Ms Dugdale

She composed on Twitter : “We might be challengers, however @kezdugdale led her celebration with guts and decision and I appreciated her for that.

“I want her well for the future.”

And Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson tweeted : “Leadership can be @kezdugdale and difficult should have the thanks of her celebration for putting in the tough backyards. I want her well.”

‘Mounting pressure’

Ms Dugdale changed Jim Murphy as Scottish Labour leader in August 2015, after the celebration lost all however among its Westminster seats in Scotland to the SNP.

Under her management, Labour completed third behind the SNP and Scottish Conservatives in 2015’s Scottish Parliament election – however went on to win 7 seats in the breeze basic election in June.

Ms Dugdale backed Owen Smith to change Mr Corbyn in 2015’s management contest, arguing at the time that: “I do not believe Jeremy can unify our celebration and lead us into federal government.”

Labour’s stronger-than-expected efficiency in June’s election has actually seen pressure install on her from advocates of Mr Corbyn, who think the celebration’s enhancement in Scotland was down to him instead of Ms Dugdale.

Mr Corbyn just recently finished a five-day trip of Scotland, when he appeared together with Ms Dugdale at occasions in Glasgow.


Analysis by Brian Taylor, BBC Scotland political editor

Kezia Dugdale was chosen to Holyrood in 2011, after working for the previous Labour MSP Lord Foulkes.

She was Jim Murphy’s deputy as Scottish celebration leader – and changed him in the leading task when he stood down after the celebration’s disastrous defeat in the 2015 UK basic election which left Labour with just one Westminster seat in Scotland.

Initially extremely important of Jeremy Corbyn, she has actually considering that argued for celebration unity. That has actually not avoided aspects of the left in Scotland from arguing that she must stand down or deal with a difficulty.

There is no recrimination or name-calling in her departure. Rather, she vows to continue to work for Labour as a list MSP.

But there is an oblique referral in her resignation letter to the stress at the top, when she states that “being leader has actually constantly been a tough however satisfying obstacle”.

She includes it was an obstacle that “previously” she had actually taken pleasure in.

Speculation will now centre upon her most likely replacement. Competitors left wing may be Neil Findlay, Richard Leonard and the existing deputy Alex Rowley. Other names discussed consist of Anas Sarwar, Jackie Baillie, Jenny Marra and James Kelly.

Ms Dugdale’s resignation takes instant impact. Her deputy, Alex Rowley, will work as acting leader – unless he chooses to resign from his post to object to the management himself.


Ms Dugdale insisted she was not leaving now in order to prevent a possible obstacle to her management from a more left-wing competitor.

And she stated Mr Corbyn has her complete assistance, which she anticipates him to end up being prime minister.

She stated: “On an individual level we continue to get on incredibly well, and I want him every success for the future”.

In her resignation letter, Ms Dugdale likewise described the death previously this year of her buddy Gordon Aikman, a Labour Party activist who passed away at the age of 31 after a fight with Motor Neurone Disease.

Ms Dugdale – who commemorated her 36th birthday today – stated his example taught her “how valuable and brief life was and never ever to lose a minute.”

Image copyright Scottish Labour
Image caption Ms Dugdale revealed previously this year that she remained in a relationship with SNP MSP Jenny Gilruth

Ms Dugdale just recently revealed that she was dating SNP MSP Jenny Gilruth after splitting with her long-lasting partner Louise Riddell.

She stated she had actually completely enjoyed her time as celebration leader, and thinks she still has a lot to provide public life in Scotland – however worried that would not constantly remain in the Scottish Parliament, although she will stay as a backbench MSP in the meantime.

And she confessed that the “enormous” duration in Scottish politics over the previous 3 years, which has actually consisted of the self-reliance and EU referendums together with 2 basic elections and a Holyrood election, had actually taken its toll on her.

Ms Dugdale included: “Of course it is difficult – it must be difficult. It is essential choices you are taking all the time, however I completely enjoyed it.

“I have actually handled a few of the huge fights of our time, whether that be around the constitution or making the case for progressive taxes.

“I have actually provided 2 sets of varied prospects, 50% males and 50% females, and I have actually ensured the autonomy of the Scottish Labour Party.

“Nobody has actually ever informed me exactly what to do in this task – it is not something determined from London anymore, that is beyond all doubt.”


Full text of Kezia Dugdale’s resignation letter:

Dear Linda,

As Chair of the celebration, I am composing to you today to resign as Leader of the Scottish Labour Party.

It has actually been an opportunity and an honour to have actually served this celebration in a management position for the last 2 and a half years, covering 4 nationwide elections and one referendum.

I have actually dealt with numerous excellent individuals, not least the personnel in our HQ led by Brian Roy and those in the Scottish Parliament, whose limitless energy, proficiency and excellent humour has actually assisted our celebration through some tough times and dark hours.

I ‘d like to thank my shadow cabinet for their efforts, and in specific Iain Gray for his unflinching love and assistance and James Kelly for the important however thankless task he does so well as our Business Manager.

Earlier this year I lost a dear buddy who taught me a lot about ways to live. His terminal health problem required him to recognize exactly what he truly desired from life, ways to take advantage of it and ways to make a distinction. He taught me how valuable and brief life was and never ever to lose a minute.

Being leader has actually constantly been a hard however satisfying obstacle. One that previously I have actually taken pleasure in, owned by a clear directing function and objectives, much of which I have actually accomplished.

I take pride in that I’ve shown how the parliament’s powers can be utilized to stop austerity with progressive taxes and the development of brand-new advantages. Happy to have actually advanced the call for federalism throughout the UK. Happy to have actually provided genuine autonomy for the Scottish Labour Party and a surefire voice for Scotland and Wales on the NEC. Since Scottish Labour under my management put it there, #peeee

Educational inequality is the number one problem in Scottish politics after the constitution.

I am happy to have actually provided 50/50 slates of varied and fantastic prospects in both the Scottish and U.K. Elections and similarly happy to have actually bought the next generation of labour activists and parliamentarians with management programs. These have currently supplied us with 2 of our stunning 7 MPs. With that re-established Scottish Labour group at Westminster, and a reliable and skilled group in Holyrood, Scottish Labour has a brilliant future.

A marker of success for me was to leave as leader with the celebration in much better shape than I discovered it and I have actually done that.

Emerging from the difficult times following the 2014 referendum, and the 2015 UK election, we now have a strong platform on which to construct to success, and federal government.

I have actually offered the job of attaining this that I have. With almost 4 years now till the next Scottish Parliament elections, I am persuaded that the celebration requires a brand-new leader with fresh energy, drive and a brand-new required to take the celebration into that contest.

I will continue as a Labour MSP for the Lothians and am currently eagerly anticipating investing more time with constituents and on constituency concerns.

Too frequently our leaders leave in a crisis, with ratings to settle. I enjoy this celebration excessive for that to be my method. There will be no interview and no off the record rundown in my name. I opt to stand down due to the fact that I think it is best for me and finest for Scottish Labour, at a time when we can be positive and favorable about our future.

I stay in wonder of all those celebration activists who commit their time to this motion without pay or benefit. I thank them for their belief in me.

Yours in uniformity,

Kez Dugdale

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