SCOTTISH Labour leader Richard Leonard has defended his leadership of the party following Thursday’s disastrous election result.

In a statement last night he insisted Labour could still form the next government in Holyrood. The party were left with just one MP in Scotland, taking 18.5% of the vote share.

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Labour’s Scottish Executive Committee are to hold an emergency meeting today. One source loyal to the chief said there was little appetite for change in the party.

“I really don’t see the point of Richard leaving and there is no-one to replace him anyway,” “It was a UK campaign strategy and UK manifesto.

Richard Leonard and Scottish Labour were anti-Trident and pro-remain”. The party in Scotland had been genuinely confident that they would retain some of their seats, and even believed they could challenge the SNP for others.

In the end, Thursday’s vote was brutal for Labour, worse even than the result in 2015. In a statement released on Friday, Leonard said the party really needed to rebuild.

“After all the hard work put in by Labour activists in Scotland over months of campaigning, the motivational leadership shown by our candidates, and the exciting manifesto we stood on, I was deeply disappointed by the result. And the result will be devastating to everyone who needs a Labour government most.

“But the voters have spoken and we must listen. Constitutional issues have played a major role in our defeat. It is clear that we must do more to win back the trust of people on both sides of the Brexit and Scottish independence debates. “But more importantly, we must bring people together. The only future for Scotland, and for Scottish Labour, will be found in bringing together our communities on the basis of the overwhelming common interest that working people have – whether they are Yes or No, Leave or Remain.”

He insisted he could still be the next First Minister: “We know that our nine years of opposition at Westminster did not come to an end last night. But in 2021 I am determined that our 14 years of opposition will come to an end in the Scottish Parliament. This is certainly ambitious, but we should not apologise for our ambition.”

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Meanwhile Jeremy Corbyn was accused of being at odds with reality after he spoke about his “pride in the manifesto” and blamed Brexit for the party’s staggering defeat. Across the UK Labour suffered its worst result since 1935. Though Corbyn has said he won’t lead the party into the next general election, he has yet to detail when he plans to stand down.

“I have pride in our manifesto that we put forward and all our policies we put forward that actually had huge public support on issues of universal credit, the green industrial revolution and investment for the future,” he said.

“But this election was taken over ultimately by Brexit and we as a party represent people who vote remain and leave, my whole strategy was to reach out beyond the Brexit divide to try to bring people together.”

When asked about his timetable to leave as leader, Corbyn said: “The national executive will have to meet, of course, in the very near future and it is up to them. It will be in the early part of next year.”

Sadiq Khan, the Labour mayor of London, called on Corbyn to stand down “quickly”. “If we are truly honest with ourselves, we knew in our hearts that Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership was deeply unpopular with the British people”.