KEIR Starmer has won the backing of Jeremy Corbyn’s last Scottish Secretary, Lesley Laird, in Labour’s leadership race.

Laird was Corbyn’s voice on Scotland until losing her Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath seat to suspended SNP candidate Neale Hanvey in December’s snap General Election.

Today she has confirmed she’ll back former shadow cabinet colleague Starmer in the contest to replace Corbyn.

The London MP stepped down from the head of the party after Labour slumped to its worst General Election result since 1935.

The field narrowed to three on Friday when Emily Thornberry failed to secure enough nominations to get her name on the ballot paper along with Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy.

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Thornberry was just two nominations short and, at a hustings in Glasgow on Saturday, the three remaining competitors agreed swaying voters in Scotland will be key to the party’s political rehabilitation.

During his time in charge, Corbyn faced repeated rebellions from within the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP).

Today Laird said only Starmer has the “trust and confidence” of MP colleagues to lead the party.

The National: Keir Starmer has shown leadership across many areas already, according to Lesley LairdKeir Starmer has shown leadership across many areas already, according to Lesley Laird

In a new endorsement video, she states: “I’m supporting Keir Starmer in this leadership election because I believe throughout this campaign already Keir has really shown his socialist credentials, which are going to be so important in taking forward the party and our policies to the electorate.

“I’ve known Keir through our shadow cabinet roles, where he’s shown leadership – leadership at the despatch box and leadership in terms of the PLP – taking on difficult times and difficult territory for our party through the Brexit process.

“I believe he has built up the trust and confidence of our PLP, of our wider membership and I believe he has the skills and the ability to build up the trust and confidence in the country that will return a Labour government.”

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At the Glasgow hustings, Starmer – the bookies’ favourite to succeed Corbyn – warned against getting “sucked straight into” an indyref2 debate, stating: “The SNP are constantly using the constitutional issue to mask the real issues, and if we get into that we are falling into their trap. Let’s have a wide discussion about where we go next, but let’s be bold about it.”

Nandy said she believed in a “much more radical power settlement than federalism with power pushed out to local authorities”.

And Long-Bailey told the audience: “If the Scottish Parliament makes the request for a referendum I don’t believe that as a democratic party we could refuse that.

“But if we did refuse that it would drive more of our voters into arms of the SNP and that is what they want.”

Yesterday Starmer summed up the scale of public dissatisfaction with Labour during an appearance on Sky News, citing feedback from General Election voters.

Appearing on Sophy Ridge on Sunday, he said: “I think we all take responsibility for that devastating election loss.

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“People brought up the leadership of the Labour Party, fairly or unfairly.

“They brought up Brexit in different ways – what was said in the Midlands was different to what was said here in Scotland. They brought up the fact that they thought the manifesto was overloaded and they didn’t believe we could deliver it all, and in a number of places they brought up antisemitism.”

Meanwhile, in the parallel contest to select a deputy leader for Scottish Labour, Glasgow councillor Matt Kerr says he will push to give affiliated supporters “a say in candidate selections”.

The change would give more influence to backers from trade unions – who are allowed to vote in the deputy leadership election.

Kerr said that set-up is “ludicrous” and that Labour should not take support “for granted”, allowing affiliated supporters to help determine candidates for local and Holyrood elections.

As well as winning the backing of ex-Scottish Labour deputy Cathy Jamieson, Kerr is the preferred candidate for almost 30 constituency Labour parties and 10 affiliates.