Cracks appearing only days after Scottish Labour overhaul

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By a Newsnet reporter
 
Infighting has surfaced within the Labour party only days after a review of the party’s disastrous showing in the Scottish election resulted in radical proposals designed to bolster the party’s crumbling fortunes north of the border.
 
Reports in the Times newspaper reveal the strength of unhappiness at the changes amongst some MPs, with one claiming that Westminster representatives would become ‘second-class citizens’.

It has also emerged that a key proposal giving councillors 10 per cent of the party’s Electoral College votes has been ditched, following – it is claimed – objections from trade unions.

The rift comes only days after an internal review led by MP Jim Murphy and MSP Sarah Boyack announced changes described by Mr Murphy as the most radical overhaul Labour had seen in 90 years.  The proposals are designed to create a ‘Scottish’ party that can combat the dominance of the SNP.

However according to the Times newspaper the changes have not met with universal approval and an unnamed Labour MP said “It will make us second-class citizens and we won’t accept it lying down”.

Council cull

The alleged rejection by the unions of votes for councillors comes barely a week after news of a cull at Glasgow City council revealed up to 25 sitting Labour councillors were being de-selected.  There are also rumours that some are being moved in order to make way for former Labour MSPs who lost out in the recent Holyrood election.

Commenting the SNP’s Deputy Whip Fiona McLeod said:

“It’s not really much of a surprise that the infighting which plagued Labour all summer is continuing.  What really is surprising though is the fact they’ve still to actually begin any real process of electing a new leader.

“There is still real anger and no clear direction from Scottish Labour.  It was hoped that this plan would see all past ill-feeling cast aside but we’ve seen almost the complete reverse of that, with an MP now claiming that they are to be treated like ‘second-class citizens’ and councillors bids to have the same status as MPs and MSPs in elections rejected out of hand.”

Labour’s leadership woes continue north and south of the border with delays over a replacement for Iain Gray and now claims that the leadership election of Ed Miliband was not a “free and fair democratic” contest due to the role played by the union bloc vote.

The identity of Iain Gray’s replacement is still unclear over four months after he led the party to a humiliating defeat.

Former BBC man Ken Macintosh has now joined fellow MSP and current deputy chief Johan Lamont and MP Tom Harris in a line-up to replace Mr Gray.  The new leader’s first challenge will be next year’s local authority contests where Labour will be hoping to limit losses and prevent the SNP from winning the ‘jewel in the crown’ that is Glasgow.