Corbyn to join new Scots leader

Leonard outlines his programme for government

Richard Leonard

Richard Leonard: programme for change (photo by Terry Murden)

Richard Leonard, the new Scottish Labour leader, will today outline his route to Bute House with a set of policies aimed at recovering the working class vote.

In a speech in Glasgow he will lay out his plans for the first months of his leadership with a series of policy statements for a future programme for government.  He will unveil 12 policy reviews and a commission on tax.

Mr Leonard, speaking at a joint press event with Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, will unveil his goals to become First Minister; to give the Scottish people confidence that they can make real change; and to lead a Labour surge in Scotland that will help Labour win the next Westminster elections.

Mr Corbyn will say that he will work “as closely as possible” with Mr Leonard and will state that Labour’s mission is to inspire people in every nation and region of the UK to “have the confidence to be a country that genuinely cares for all.”

Mr Leonard is expected to say: “I was elected Scottish Labour Leader promising real change – and it is real change that together we will deliver.

“This task will not be easy. Change never comes without a fight. But we must, and we will, face the future with confidence. 

“Confidence not just in our own abilities, but in the capacity of working people in our country to run their own affairs, to control their own lives, and build a more prosperous and just nation.

“We must give our people the confidence that real change can happen.

“Over the coming months, we will set up up 12 policy reviews and a commission on tax to further develop our policies on the vital issues facing Scotland including: funding and powers for local government, meeting the housing crisis, improving the health of our children, tackling climate change and developing green energy as well as extending public ownership. 

“This moment can be a turning point for our Party in Scotland but also for the UK as a whole. We can and must change our society. We will challenge austerity from the SNP in Holyrood and the Tories in Westminster.

“Inequality, injustice and poverty are not inevitable. Together, we can seize the day and, as John Smith said when he became Labour leader, “persuade millions of the strength of our vision, the relevance of our policies and the urgency of our demand for change”.

“Labour has changed, and now we are determined to change Scotland. That is our task today; it is one I am confident that we can achieve together.”

Mr Corbyn is expected to say: “I want to offer my warmest congratulations to Richard Leonard for being elected as the new leader of the Scottish Labour Party. I know that under Richard’s leadership Scottish Labour will once again bring hope and confidence to the people of Scotland.

“During this leadership election, Richard laid out a bold and radical agenda for Scottish Labour and showed his determination to bring real change to Scotland. I look forward to working as closely as possible with Richard to change our society for the many not the few. 

“Now our whole party and movement must campaign together to inspire people in every nation and region of the UK to have the confidence to be a country that genuinely cares for all.

“It is Labour that offers the Scottish people real change and a break with the failed and rigged system that has held our people back. 

“Together with the people of every nation and region of the UK, we will build a new economy that delivers good jobs and cutting edge investment in every part of our country, and puts equality and social justice at the heart of everything that we do.”

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