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Scottish Labour Leadership: nominations open

Following Scottish Labour’s special conference on Saturday, at which new rules for electing Scotland’s own Labour leader were agreed, nominations open today for the positions of Leader and Deputy Leader. Known candidates for Leader are MSPs Johann Lamont (the current Deputy Leader, a former teacher and housing minister, and on the Left of the party) and Ken MacIntosh (who is backed by leading Blairite, Jim Murphy MP) as well as Westminster MP Tom Harris (also seen as  a Blairite). Known candidates for the Deputy Leadership are MPs Ian Davidson and Anas Sarwar and MSPs Elaine Murray and Lewis Macdonald.

The contenders have already appeared in the first hustings although nominations do not close until noon on Friday. Only those candidates who have the support of at least ten (12.5%) of the eighty Scottish MPs, MSPs and MEPs, will go forward to the ballot. Balloting will take place between 21 November and 13 December with the winners announced on 17 December. The electoral college is divided into thirds, with equal shares going to (i) MPs, MSPs and MEPs; (ii) individual party members (iii) individual affiliated members who pay the political levy.

At the bookies, MacIntosh is the early favourite though the smarter money is on Lamont, the Left candidate. Tom Harris is currently still trailing various non-runners. Interestingly, all three candidates were at pains to back the November public sector pensions strikers. Readers can judge the runners for themselves on BBC Scotland’s Politics Show from about 46 minutes in.

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