Iain Gray: ‘I want to be First Minister’

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Labour’s Holyrood leader Iain Gray has broken cover and declared that he hopes to be Scottish First Minister after next year’s Holyrood elections.

In an interview with the Press and Journal the Labour MSP, who took over the role of leader of the Labour group after Wendy Alexander’s donations resignation, claimed that he was ready for the role.


Labour’s Holyrood leader Iain Gray has broken cover and declared that he hopes to be Scottish First Minister after next year’s Holyrood elections.

In an interview with the Press and Journal the Labour MSP, who took over the role of leader of the Labour group after Wendy Alexander’s donations resignation, claimed that he was ready for the role.

Iain Gray has remained tight lipped as the furore over the attacks on Scotland by four American Senators has raged, preferring instead to have his Justice spokesman Richard Baker issue statements on behalf of the party’s Scottish branch.  This interview will be seen as an attempt at re-establishing some public profile after Alex Salmond’s stock rose markedly as a result of the First Minister’s handling of the situation.

In the interview Mr Gray said that he was “ready and prepared” to become Scotland’s next First Minister: “My objective is to make Labour the biggest party in Holyrood next May and to be first minister”

Mr Gray criticised what he claimed was a lack of leadership from Alex Salmond and suggested that the country required leadership that only he and his Labour team could provide.

Mr Gray said:
“I think the country is crying out for leadership and I don’t think we’re getting it from the SNP government we’ve got just now.

“I am absolutely ready to take on being first minister and my team are absolutely ready and prepared to take on the leadership the country requires.”

Mr Gray also promised that, despite being voted out of office in May this year, he expected former PM Gordon Brown to play a supporting role in the 2011 Scottish election campaign. 

Mr Gray said: “I’ll be running the campaign – but I would expect Gordon to participate.”

Mr Brown has come in for heavy criticism over his virtual non attendance at the Commons since leaving number 10 in May.

Alliance
It is unlikely that any party will emerge from the 2011 election with an overall majority, and a minority government or a coalition are virtually certain.  However Mr Gray stated that the Lib Dem deal with the Tories at UK level would not prevent a deal at Holyrood, saying: “I don’t see why that’s not possible.”

The admission from Iain Gray that he would be prepared to cut a deal with the party that many of his colleagues have accused of making a ‘deal with the devil’ may bring with it problems in the Scottish campaign.  Such a deal will inevitably mean manifesto promises being ditched and compromises being made.

Given that ‘broken promises’ has been a central theme of Labour’s attacks on the SNP since 2007, Iain Gray could find himself fielding some very uncomfortable questions as the 2011 campaign approaches.

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