Labour in turmoil
Union chief defends Leonard as resignations snowball
Richard Leonard: under attack (pic: Terry Murden)
A trade union has called for internal attacks on Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard to stop as another of his top team resigned.
TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has lambasted the “self-indulgence” of Scottish Labour MSPs trying to force Mr Leonard to stand down as party leader and called for “stability and unity”.
However, his call came as Mark Griffin resigned as the party’s social security spokesman.
Earlier, Glasgow MSP James Kelly resigned as the party’s justice spokesman, while others, including fellow MSP Jenny Marra, have been openly critical of Mr Leonard. They have, in turn, been accused of ‘treachery’ by Mr Leonard’s supporters. MSP Neil Findlay urged the party to stop the infighting.
Mr Cortes said: “It’s really sad to see Scottish Labour MSPs fighting Richard Leonard rather than the Tories or the SNP. Their self-indulgence is an affront to everyone who voted for and supports Scottish Labour.
“Let’s be clear, over the recent past Scottish Labour has had more leaders than most people have had fish suppers. To quote Albert Einstein, ‘insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’.
“We need to stop chopping and changing – stability and unity are what’s required. The Scottish public deserve that, at the very least, from their Labour representatives. Those publicly attacking Richard today are doing our movement and the Scottish people no favours.”
Critics have pointed to the poor showing of the party in the polls and of Mr Leonard’s weak public profile.
Mr Kelly said: “Scottish Labour’s poll ratings have been really low and we cannot ignore that.”
Mr Leonard issued a statement saying he had no intention of stepping down and will lead the party in to next year’s elections.