FORMER Scottish Labour leader has refused to take a front bench role alongside new leader Anas Sarwar.

The shake-up of Scottish Labour's front bench team sees some of the team losing roles while others have been drafted in ahead of May's Scottish Parliament election.

Sarwar said he asked Leonard to take a role on the team but his predecessor declined the offer.

Sarwar said: "I had a very positive exchange with Richard and Richard didn't feel that he wanted to come back on the front bench at this time. 

"I think that's understandable but he has been nothing but supportive and warm since Saturday. 

"We are both determined to work together to rebuild the Labour party going forward."

The National: Scottish Labour leadership candidate Monica Lennon is taking on a different role on theparty's front bench teamScottish Labour leadership candidate Monica Lennon is taking on a different role on theparty's front bench team

Other changes to the team include deputy leader of the party Jackie Baillie taking on Monica Lennon's health and social care brief while Lennon - who ran against Sarwar for the party's leadership - takes on the role of economy and fair work spokesperson.

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Daniel Johnson, the MSP for Edinburgh Southern, has been brought onto the team as the party's finance spokesperson. Michael Marra has replaced Iain Gray as education spokesperson and Sarah Boyack has replaced Claudia Beamish as the party’s environment spokesperson.

Beamish is staying on as the party’s spokesperson on the COP26 climate conference.

Sarwar said: “We are only weeks away from the Holyrood election and we have built a team from both the Parliament and our wider movement for our campaign cabinet.

“I am determined to bring our party together and harness all our talent, so that together we lead Scottish Labour into this contest with a firm focus on rebuilding our country.

“In the coming weeks we will outline our vision for Scotland, with an NHS restart plan, a catch-up plan for our children, and a real vision for jobs – for now, and for the future.

“We will focus on what unites our country - not what divides it – because by working together we can build a better future for Scotland.”

​READ MORE: SNP on course to win Holyrood majority despite dip in Yes support, poll shows

Full Scottish Labour front bench 

Leader - Anas Sarwar 

Deputy Leader and Health, Social Care and Equalities - Jackie Baillie 

Economy and Fair Work - Monica Lennon 

Finance - Daniel Johnson 

Education and Skills - Michael Marra 

Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform - Sarah Boyack MSP 

Justice  - Neil Bibby

Communities, Local Government and Housing - Pauline McNeill

Constitution, Europe and External Affairs - Colin Smyth

Social Security - Pam Duncan-Glancy 

Culture - Claire Baker  

Rural Economy and Tourism  - Rhoda Grant 

Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity  - Alex Rowley  

Business Manager, Community Safety and Drugs Policy - James Kelly