MPs And Labour Heavyweights Sign Letter Backing Richard Leonard For Scottish Labour Leader

A string of Labour heavyweights and union leaders have signed an open letter backing Richard Leonard for Scottish Labour Leader. The MSP is the clear favourite to win the contest after Kezia Dugdale’s shock resignation earlier this years. Anas Sarwar’s team insist their candidate is ahead among Labour members, claiming the party’s Holyrood health spokesman’s policy to support the single market is a dividing line, but Ladbrokes has Leonard as odds on to win at 1/6 while Sarwar lags behind at 7/2. Sarwar’s campaign faltered at an early stage after it emerged his family firm’s cash and carry business did not recognise unions or pay the living wage. He has, however, a wide range of support amongst MPs, counting Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray - the sole survivor of the 2015 SNP landslide - and newly-elected MP Martin Whitfield as backers. Many MSPs, including the popular Jackie Baillie and Brexit spokesman Lewis MacDonald, also back Sarwar, alongside former Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling. Leonard, meanwhile, has sought to build on a Labour revival north of the border by allying himself closely with Jeremy Corbyn, welcoming support from a slew of influential union leaders. They have put their names to an open letter, which reads: “Richard Leonard is the best candidate for Scottish Labour leader: he stands for transforming a society and economy that currently produces so much poverty and inequality, not simply managing the present system in a better way.” The results of the vote will be announced on November 18. The full list of signatories: Danielle Rowley MP Monica Lennon MSP Claudia Beamish MSP Neil Findlay MSP Rhoda Grant MSP Hugh Gaffney MP Ged Killen MP Elaine Smith MSP Paul Sweeney MP Cathy Jamieson, former MP – deputy leader of Scottish Labour 2000-2008 Pat Rafferty, Unite the Union, Scottish Secretary Gary Smith, GMB Scotland Secretary Gordon McKay, UNISON Vice-President, Chair UNISON Labour Link Scotland Dave Watson, UNISON, Scottish Organiser Stewart Forrest, USDAW, Divisional Officer, Scotland Karen Whitefield, USDAW, Training Officer, Scotland & former MSP Liz Warren-Corney, TSSA, Scotland Organiser Stevie Lawrence, TSSA, Executive Committee Member - Scotland Kevin Lindsay, ASLEF Scotland Organiser Lynn Henderson, trade unionist Chris McLaughlin, Editor, Tribune Mick Whelan, ASLEF General Secretary Len McCuskey, Unite the Union General Secretary Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary Manuel Cortes, TSSA General Secretary John Hannett, USDAW General Secretary Mark Serwotka, trade unionist Dave Ward, CWU General Secretary Ronnie Draper, BFAWU General Secretary Ian Hodson, BFAWU President Councillor Joe Cullinane Councillor Brian Gordon Councillor Robert Bissett Councillor Gerry Convery Councillor Allyson Black Councillor Margaret Brisley Councillor Robert Burrows Councillor Bill Butler Councillor Angela Campbell Councillor Harry Cartmill Councillor Gail Casey Councillor Dave Clark Councillor Joan Coombes Councillor Georgia Cruickshank Councillor Eddie Devine Councillor Margaret Richardson Councillor Jim Reddin Councillor Jim Sheridan Councillor Bill Shields Councillor Kenneth Stevenson Councillor Derek Stewart Grahame Morris MP, Easington Ian Mearns MP, Gateshead Rhea Wolfson, Labour Party NEC Member Claudia Webbe, Labour Party NEC Member David Watt, Socialist Educational Association Scotland Chris Barbour, Scottish Young Labour Secretary Leah Franchetti, Glasgow Labour Party member Michael Connarty, former MP Laura Pidcock MP, North West Durham Dan Carden MP, Liverpool Walton Owen Jones, author and campaigner Gavin Strang, Former MP and minister Fran Boait, Director of Positive Money Matt Zarb-Cousin, former spokesperson for Jeremy Corbyn Councillor Kenneth Earle Councillor Angela Feeney Councillor Robert Foster Councillor Danny Gibson Councillor Judy Hamilton Councillor Jim Harte Councillor Karen Kennedy Councillor Matt Kerr Councillor Danny Lennie Councillor Mary Lockhart Councillor Martin McCulloch Councillor Andrew McGuire Councillor Dom McGuire Councillor George McIrvine Nancy Platts, former trade union adviser to Jeremy Corbyn Abi Wilkinson, Journalist Billy Hayes, Labour Party CAC member Fahd Ali Asif, Dundee new Scottish Labour Party Member Cara Hilton, Former MSP, SEC member Ann Henderson, SEC member Siobhan McCready, SEC member Lesley Brennan, SEC member and Vice Chair of CfS Marlyn Glen, Former MSP Prof. Christine Cooper, Strathclyde University, Professor of Accounting and Finance Sam Tarry, President, CLASS Stephen Wright, Musicians Union member Maya Goodfellow, Writer Hugh Henry, Former MSP Councillor Davie McLachlan Councillor AlexanderMcVey Councillor Kathleen Martin Councillor George Matchett Councillor John Mooney Councillor Jim Montgomerie Councillor Gordon Munro Councillor Alan Nimmo Councillor Lawrence O’Neill Councillor Pat O’Rourke Councillor Ross Paterson Councillor Clare Quigley Dr Eric Shaw, University of Stirling, Honorary Research Fellow Helen McFarlane, Scottish Labour Candidate 2017 Nathaniel Blondel, Chair, Glasgow Univerity Labour Club Kate Shaw Nelson, Chair of Scottish Labour Students and Glasgow Kelvin CLP Louis King, Co-Chair, Scottish Labour Young Socialists Harry Lesley-Smith, Author and activist for the welfare state Alan Cummings, Secretary, Durham miners Councillor Elaine Murray, Former MSP Seema Chandwani, Labour CAC member Mark Millar, Write