THE left-wing contender in the Scottish Labour leadership contest has secured enough support from parliamentarians to proceed in the contest.

A spokesman for Richard Leonard revealed the Central Scotland MSP had secured a sufficient number of nominations for his name to appear on the ballot paper. However, he would not reveal how many MPs, MSPs or MEPs had endorsed Leonard or the names of all his backers.

“We have enough [nominations] to get on the ballot but are spacing out the announcements,” he said.

Loading article content

The new MP for Midlothian Danielle Rowley, who previously worked for housing charity Shelter, was unveiled yesterday as Leonard’s campaign chief.

Her candidacy in the General Election was endorsed by the Labour Campaign for Socialism group which has strong links with Momentum, the grassroots movement which spearheaded Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership battles.

Rowley said she was “proud” to lead the campaign for Leonard, a former organiser with the trade union the GMB, who is seen as the left’s favoured candidate.

Leonard said: “I am delighted that someone with the talent and commitment of Danielle has agreed to head my campaign. She will lead the army of volunteers who are contacting me by the minute, signing up to help.

“I look forward to working with them taking forward my vision for real change across this great country.”

Rowley said: “Richard has the vision and ambition to transform Scotland into a country where every person has a job, a decent home and a good education. Where people can live in a caring and prosperous society and where no one is abandoned or left behind. These will be our priorities as we set out Richard’s vision.”

Meanwhile, rival candidate Anas Sarwar has secured the backing of the leaders of the Labour groups on Edinburgh and Glasgow city councils. Glasgow Labour group leader, Frank McAveety, who was council leader when the SNP ended decades of Labour rule at the local government elections in May, said Sarwar “has the experience we need in someone who can be the next First Minister”.

Edinburgh Labour group leader Cammy Day said: “I’ve known Anas for many years and I know he will be a strong leader for Labour in Scotland, and unite communities across all our towns and cities and I support him wholeheartedly.”

Sarwar welcomed their support, adding: “As Scottish Labour leader, I will fight to reverse the Nationalist cuts and invest in our communities to tackle inequality and injustice.”

The latest endorsements follow almost half of Scottish Labour’s parliamentarians backing Sarwar within a day of him announcing he would stand.

Rowley is the daughter of Alex Rowley, who is currently leading the party while a successor to Kezia Dugdale is appointed after her shock resignation last week, but has ruled himself out of running for leader.

Contenders in the leadership race need to get nominations from a minimum of five MPs. To date those revealed as backing Leonard are MSPs Elaine Smith, Neil Findlay and MP Danielle Rowley.

Scottish Labour’s executive committee will meet on Saturday to consider the timetable and process for selecting their next leader. One of the issues to be discussed is a cut off date for when new members can be allowed to vote. Sarwar’s backers favour a retrospective freeze date so only members who had joined before the campaign started can vote, while Leonard’s supporters want a freeze date during the contest. They want to recruit new members keen to support Corbyn and his mission to take the party back to its socialist origins.

Former leader Iain Gray along with MSPs Jackie Baillie, Daniel Johnson and MP Ian Murray are among the parliamentarians to back Sarwar.